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11% of California voters are “birthers”

Sigh.

That’s the case according to a Field Corporation Poll released January 26, 2010. In addition to that hard core 11% who say they don’t believe Obama was born in the USA, another 22% aren’t sure.

Eighty-five percent of Democrats, but just 42% of Republicans, maintain that Obama was born in the U.S. There is also a wide divergence of opinion between liberals, 96% of whom believe Obama was born in America, and conservatives, of whom fewer than half feel this way (45%). …

Just 29% of the voters who say they identify a lot with the tea party movement believe that Obama is a U.S.-born citizen.

In 2008, there were about 17 million registered voters in California, so by extrapolation we find there about 1.9 million birthers in California (not counting those unsure and those not registered to vote).

14 Responses to 11% of California voters are “birthers”

  1. avatar
    Lupin January 28, 2010 at 7:58 am #

    Future Edward Gibbon will doubtless prize this information.

  2. avatar
    Lupin January 28, 2010 at 8:30 am #

    However note that there is a +/- 5% MOE on the random subsample dealing with the birther question.

  3. avatar
    Dave January 28, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    “Not sure” can mean a lot of things. If you polled me about any other President, I’m might say I wasn’t sure. I’m only sure about Obama because I’ve seen pictures of his COLB, I’ve read at least one account by someone who examined the document, and most importantly the relevant Hawaii govt official issued a statement that he was born there. But I only know these things because I waste my time paying attention to this non-issue. Those who don’t might reasonably say they’re not sure.

    A more useful question would be, do you have any concerns about Obama’s Constitutional eligibility to be President.

    What I find more interesting about this poll is that 12% identify strongly with the tea parties, and 39% haven’t heard of the tea parties. There’s some polarization for you.

  4. avatar
    Dave January 28, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    OK, here’s a hoot. In the breakdown by political parties, the party most aware of the existence of the tea parties is… the Democrats! And wait there’s more — in the breakdown by political ideology the group most aware of the existence of tea parties is… “Strongly liberal”!

    Does this tell us something or what?!

  5. avatar
    Scientist January 28, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    The only people on Earth whose birth circumstances I am SURE of are my children. I an not even sure about my own, because I was very young at the time and don’t remember it very well.

  6. avatar
    Greg January 28, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    66% of Americans believe that Creationism is true.

    42% of Americans believe that there was a cover-up of what happened on 9/11.

    41% of Americans think Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11.

    66% of Americans believe JFK’s assassination was part of a cover-up.

    18% of Americans think the Sun orbits the Earth.

    80% of Americans think the US is hiding information about UFOs.

    10% of the GOP thinks there’s a possibility Elvis is still alive.

    Need I go on?

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 28, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    I fully agree with your concern about “not sure”. Does it mean “I have doubts” or “I’m not well-informed on the issue.”

  8. avatar
    G January 28, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Although I fully anticipated that many birthers were also TeaBaggers, I did not really expect the number of TeaBaggers who were birthers to be so high.

    So I’m going to use that as my distinction, because honestly, I fully support the notion of independent and 3rd party movements in this country.

    I find it disappointing that the “Tea Party” movement doesn’t seem to have any true direction or solutions.

    I fully understand anger/frustration against government incompetence, corruption and inaction. I fully understand anger/frustration against what has happened in Wall Street, the housing market, banking, insurance, the national debt, the jobs market, etc. Those are legitimate concerns that we should all share. But how we got here and how to fix them are the great issues and tasks we face today. Which means we need movements, politicians and citizens focused on real, well-thought out ideas and action on HOW to address these complex problems.

    NOT just “mob mentality” anger and fear. So in the overall “Tea Party” movement, I’m sure there are some legitimate, grass roots folks who actually do care about these issues. But honestly, between the “political players” and media sources behind the scenes ginning up and leading most of this movement as well as the preponderance of disgusting signs and the event actions to date as well as conversations I’ve had with some of these folks (I have close relatives in this “movement”), I have a hard time buying that A) that is what they really are all about and/or B) that they have any possible solutions to address these issues.

    I keep hearing the Tea Party folks say that they are focused on “economic concerns” and that is what drives them. However, whenever I press further for what that means, what seems to come to light as their “true” reasons is just plain being “anti-Obama” and fearful and upset that he achieved the Presidency.

    Therefore, for these folks, I feel the derogatory term of TeaBagger is still more applicable. After all, this is a term that they themselves initially coined and used before others picked up on the “other” meaning of it.

    If we’re dealing with just unrestrained anger/fear by people who disingenuously claim to care about real issues but really only “hate/fear” Obama…well, then they are just acting out like a bunch of d*cks, so for those folks, “TeaBaggers” it is.

    Hmmm…well, sadly maybe this does explain the truth of why “birtherism” really is such a high percentage of this movement and I shouldn’t have been surprised by the high numbers in the poll in the first place.

  9. avatar
    Lupin January 29, 2010 at 2:39 am #

    The Teabaggers strike me as idiots when it comes to the economy.

    Sadly (and ironically), so does your Congress and your President. (Not all are idiots; many are simply short-sighted, greedy and/or corrupt.)

    You have a foreclosure crisis which is far from over, based on overinflated real estate values, and which will continue to plague the international financial system for perhaps a decade, and your government is doing nothing about it. (HAMP is a terrible failure.)

    We’re getting OT here, but here is an excellent article on Reuters that outlines the problem:

    http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/01/28/the-us-loan-mod-fail/

  10. avatar
    misha January 30, 2010 at 12:45 am #

    “I fully support the notion of independent and 3rd party movements in this country.”

    Unfortunately, we do not have a parliament, and so we are locked into a 2-party system.

    Most third parties are fringe mobs.

  11. avatar
    G January 30, 2010 at 2:05 am #

    Well, although there are a few interesting aspects of parliament, I’m not sure that’s the greatest system out there either.

    I totally support the notion of independent and 3rd party movements in this country, however Misha is totally correct that we seem to be locked into a 2-party system to our own detriment over here and most of the 3rd parties we have unfortunately are nothing but a bunch of wackos, extremists or fringe mobs.

    I still like the idea of a good 3rd party or independent though. People who say our system is based on 2 parties is wrong. It just quickly became that way and then the major two help put in additional rules to ensure their lock on control.

    Personally, I think there are other reasonable ways to make our system fairer and more open to choice of candidates – various election ideas, such as measures requiring 50%+1 to win or face a run run-off ballot of the top candidates would be a good start.

  12. avatar
    Scientist January 30, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    G-While I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to a sensible 3rd party or independent, I’m not sure that addresses what I see as the fundamental issue right now, the institutional gridlock created by the need for a supermajority in the Senate and the fact that legislators see themselves as free agents, out for themselves and their constituents, rather than the national interest. One need look no further than the California budget to see the catastrophe that can arise when a determined minority is allowed to block any action. The US spends billions on elections only to render the winners incapable of implementing the promises they were elected to carry out.

    This is why I have serious disagreements with those who argue infallibility of the founders. The founders had many good ideas, but the system they set up is very far from ideal. I understand the idea of checks on the majority when it comes to fundamental human rights. No majority should be able to suppress unpopular speech or deny faor trial to unpopular defendants. But 2 great crises in US history arose from the ability of minorities to impose their will on the majority. The majority of Americans overall were against slavery by the 1840s and 1850s, yet it took a Civil War to overcome the resistance of Southern slaveholders (not even a majority of Southern whites). Similarly, the majority of Americans overall would have supported the major civil rights laws in the period right after World War II, yet progress was blocked for 20 years by filibustering Southern Senators.

    Unless serious changes are made, I am very pessimistic about the ability of the US to compete against nations with more nimble ways of reaching a national consensus and carrying it out.

  13. avatar
    Montana January 30, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    We won the election and now these sore losers will continue to spew your hate with lies. The way ours courts work is that you get a competent lawyer, verifiable facts and present them to a judge, if the facts are real and not half baked lies, then, and only then, you proceed to trial. they seem to be having a problem with their half baked lies. Their actions are very funny, but to sign on with them, they really need to win a case, but until then, they will continue to appear dumb, crazy or racist, or maybe all three. Keep plucking that chicken.

  14. avatar
    G January 30, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    Scientist –

    I agree with all of what you said here too.

    My post did not get into the problem of institutional gridlock, but I agree that is a fundamental issue right now. I too have serious disagreements with those that argue infallibility of the founders as well. You have correctly pointed out the vital necessity to ensure that a system not only contains checks and balances, but also prevents the rights of the minority from being trampled.

    I don’t know if I necessarily agree that other nation’s systems are more “nimble”, as you put it, overall. In a comparative analysis, I’m sure we could find some plusses but also some significant minuses and therefore I can’t think of another system that I can point to as truly a “better” model than what we have now.

    Our existing system is imperfect, true. Some of the mechanisms added to protect the minority can sometimes cause more harm then good – such as the dreaded Senate “filibuster” procedures. Maybe its just because I’ve always been results focused and have no patience for dithering or obstruction for obstruction’s sake. (I’ve consistently loathed the filibuster ever since I learned about it back in school, regardless of which party was in charge.)

    But in general, I think we agree with the summary point that there is definitely a strong need for improvement in our system and I only wish serious minds would take a real look at these issues and work towards coming up with serious, non-partisan ideas to better the system.

    I remain fairly cynical that in our current 2-party system that either party would try to seriously address these issues, as they view it more in their near-term benefit to keep things as they are in this regards and to keep the deck stacked in their favor.