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Most think Obama eligible, but just barely

Shocking new "Natural Born Citizen" Poll

Coincidence is high with me a YouGov contributor who was arguing with Devvy Kidd in email today about what “natural born citizen” means (she’s a disciple of Donofrio and Apuzzo) and a new poll of 1,000 persons from YouGov (they didn’t ask me) on this very topic comes out.

It turns out that the answer depends a lot on your politics, but overwhelmingly (77%) Americans would classify people like President Obama (born in the US to a US citizen mother and an alien father) as eligible. Nevertheless, when Obama is named, only 56% call him eligible (13% not sure), and only 39% say that for Ted Cruz (44% not sure). Another way to put it is that 31% believe Barack Obama is not legally eligible to be the president, slightly over the 27% of Americans that are just crazy in general.

A shocking 51% of republicans think Obama is ineligible with 14% not sure. In general those who believe Obama eligible tend to be young,  black,  northeastern, Democrat or liberal.

Here is the YouGov summary page, but I prefer the details. Only a plurality correctly say that a child born in the US to two non-citizen parents is eligible (47% yes, 40% no and 13% not sure).

A majority (61%) believe that someone born overseas to two US Citizen parents is eligible, but if that is reduced to one parent, then it drops to only about 30% voting for eligible.

There is a certain flakiness factor in the results, given that only 91% believe that a child born in the United States to two citizen parents is eligible (with 5% saying “no” and 4% “not sure”). Also 6% say that someone born outside the US to no US citizen parents is eligible (and 7% not sure).

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19 Responses to Most think Obama eligible, but just barely

  1. avatar
    Bonsall Obot May 22, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    Interesting that so many of the discrepancies are almost precisely the 27% Crazification Factor.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Crazification_factor

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 22, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    Thanks. I worked that into the article.

    Bonsall Obot: Interesting that so many of the discrepancies are almost precisely the 27% Crazification Factor.

  3. avatar
    Bonsall Obot May 22, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    My pleasure; more people need to be aware of the Crazification Factor. After ten years, it shows up consistently, and should always be taken into account.

  4. avatar
    Yoda May 22, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    The only opinions that matter are those of the judges who decide the cases. And there still are no judges who have ever agreed with birthers.

  5. avatar
    Comrade Fogovich May 22, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    A poll in the year 1450 might have resulted in a majority saying the Earth is flat.

    This is a question of law, not fact, but the analogy is valid. The law is what it is, and it’s not subject to polling. This poll reflects solely how well people understand the law, and has no effect on what the law is.

  6. avatar
    Daniel May 22, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    Those kind of polls rarely take the “I don’t know, and I don’t care” factor into consideration though.

    The general public’s GAFF is pretty low about those sorts of subjects.

  7. avatar
    Mary Brown May 22, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    If you tell a big enough lie long enough people will begin to believe you.

  8. avatar
    Dave May 22, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

    I have noticed that polls of factual matters that you would think anybody would know generally turn up about 20% that get it wrong. And that is disturbing. But what would be interesting to know, but I haven’t seen a poll study yet, is what is the correlation between not knowing if an electron is smaller than an atom, and thinking that the President is not eligible to be President.

  9. avatar
    CCB May 23, 2014 at 12:32 am #

    Comrade Fogovich:
    A poll in the year 1450 might have resulted in a majority saying the Earth is flat.

    This is a question of law, not fact, but the analogy is valid. The law is what it is, and it’s not subject to polling. This poll reflects solely how well people understand the law, and has no effect on what the law is.

    Or not. You might want to take a look at “The Myth of the Flat Earth” by Jeffrey Burton Russell ( http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/history/1997Russell.html ) . The problem might be, ahem, people today who believe, mistakenly, that a majority of the persons living in 1450 would say the Earth is flat.

    As far as the law goes, in 1896, seven justices of the United States Supreme Court held that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th allowed separate but equal treatment of European Americans and African Americans. Less than 60 years later, nine justices said that such treatment did violate the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment was the same in 1954 as it was in 1896.

  10. avatar
    aarrgghh May 23, 2014 at 1:22 am #

    the crazification factor is a bit more subtle than “27% of americans are just crazy in general”.

    the crazification factor reveals that for any false and/or absurd proposition, roughly one quarter of respondents believe it to be true. this is not the same conclusion as one quarter of the population just crazy in general, because not all the same people are responding to the same questions.

    there is certainly some overlap, since belief in one absurdity invites belief in another, especially if the latter appears at least superficially consistent with the former. conspiracy theorists rarely confine themselves to one conspiracy and believers in ghosts rarely confine themselves to one paranormal being.

    one could argue that the crazification factor suggests that one quarter of what any one person believes is likely to be false and/or absurd. is this enough to label someone “crazy” or even “crazy in general”? i suppose it depends on the specific beliefs in general, since some falsities, like the imaginary friends of children, are completely harmless, while others, like the inferiority of certain tribes of men, are repeatedly catastrophic.

    if one quarter of what everyone believes can be labeled crazy, then the crazy is quite diffuse. doubtless we are all always a little bit misinformed. but the difference between those who are merely misinformed and those who are proven crazy is that the misinformed are able to self-correct themselves while the crazy are quite stubbornly, and often quite willfully, wrong.

  11. avatar
    Benji Franklin May 23, 2014 at 1:40 am #

    Dave: what is the correlation between not knowing if an electron is smaller than an atom, and thinking that the President is not eligible to be President.

    With Birthers, we already know the correlation between their KNOWING that their evidence of Obama’s alleged ineligibility is smaller than an atom, and STILL thinking that consequently, the President is not eligible to be President!

  12. avatar
    The Magic M May 23, 2014 at 3:50 am #

    I don’t give much credence to such polls. Seriously, if a significant number of Americans believed you had a President who is serving in violation of the Constitution, you would see more than 300 people taking to the streets in DC alone.

    I think for most of the respondents, saying “Obama ineligible” is another way of saying “I don’t like the guy and would say anything to get him removed”.

    Do you think if any current President were actually ineligible, the media (including Fox) wouldn’t be all over this and you all (and millions upon millions more) would be picketing Congress until it had acted?
    I certainly know that I would not sit idly by if an ineligible Chancellor were head of my country.

  13. avatar
    Lupin May 23, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    The Magic M: I don’t give much credence to such polls.

    Me neither. US polls tend to have much larger % of “weird” answers than other nations.

  14. avatar
    bovril May 23, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    This poll has a throroughly enjoyable comment page and I am having far to much fun poking at Falio the Putz and various other Birfoon and proto-Birfoons.

    Come on over the waters fine… 8-)

  15. avatar
    Steve May 23, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Daniel:
    Those kind of polls rarely take the “I don’t know, and I don’t care” factor into consideration though.

    The general public’s GAFF is pretty low about those sorts of subjects.

    There are also some people who just like to mess with the pollsters.

  16. avatar
    Crustacean May 23, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

    Benji Franklin: With Birthers, we already know the correlation between their KNOWING that their evidence of Obama’s alleged ineligibility is smaller than an atom, and STILL thinking that consequently, the President is not eligible to be President!

    Every birther I’ve encountered has said they KNOW the evidence of Obama’s ineligibility is big. Like many people, their confidence in their own knowledge is out of whack with reality. I think birthers just have a really bad case of it.

    I recently watched an episode of the National Geographic Channel’s “Brain Games” program on this subject (“What You Don’t Know”). Of course, I thought of birthers. You can test your own brain here:

    http://bg2.nationalgeographic.com/episode/6/

    “The fact is we go through our daily lives feeling pretty confident in our knowledge and understanding of the world, but that confidence is mostly an illusion. In this episode of Brain Games, we’ll show you firsthand just how the “illusion of knowledge” plagues the human brain and why we fall victim, again and again, to the notion that we understand more than we actually do.”

  17. avatar
    Crustacean May 23, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    Crustacean: You can test your own brain here:

    Ugh! I should know better than to post a link without trying it out first. What a dumb “test.” Maybe I’m just mad because I got the rating of “most people live and learn. You just live.”

    Grrrr. :D

  18. avatar
    Suranis May 23, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    I wonder if one of the reasons for modern people and schools perpetuating that myth is that people want to feel that Columbus was striking a blow for rationality and science when he sailed west. Rather than the truth, that he had an idea in his head that everyone single mathematician on earth was wrong and only His evidence and maths was right, and that every single person he ever met was wrong when they told him he would starve to death long before he reached India.

    America was discovered because a moron behaved like a birther and a king gave him 3 ships filled with convicts to get rid of his sorry annoying ass. And Columbus believed that India was just over the horizon till the day he died. He was never wrong! [/apuzzo]

    CCB: Or not. You might want to take a look at “The Myth of the Flat Earth” by Jeffrey Burton Russell ( http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/history/1997Russell.html ) . The problem might be, ahem, people today who believe, mistakenly, that a majority of the persons living in 1450 would say the Earth is flat.

    *edit* Just read the article. Thanks! Great article and bookmarked.

  19. avatar
    Suranis May 23, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    I saw a few of the nuts cottened onto a case called SCHNEIDER v. RUSK

    here is the section they were misreading/lying about

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=377&invol=163

    Other nations, it is said, frequently attempt to treat such persons as their own citizens, thus embroiling the United States in conflicts when it attempts to afford them protection. It is argued that expatriation is an alternative to withdrawal of diplomatic protection. It is also argued that Congress reasonably can protect against the tendency of three years’ residence in a naturalized citizen’s former homeland to weaken his or her allegiance to this country. The argument continues that it is not invidious discrimination for Congress to treat such naturalized citizens differently from the manner in which it treats native-born citizens and that Congress has the right to legislate with respect to the general class without regard to each factual violation. It is finally argued that Congress here, unlike the situation in Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 372 U.S. 144 , was aiming only to regulate and not to punish, and that what Congress did had been deemed appropriate not only by this country but by many others and is in keeping with traditional American concepts of citizenship.

    We start from the premise that the rights of citizenship of the native born and of the naturalized person are of the same dignity and are coextensive. The only difference drawn by the Constitution is that only the “natural born” citizen is eligible to be President. Art. II, 1. [377 U.S. 163, 166]

    While the rights of citizenship of the native born derive from 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment and the rights of the naturalized citizen derive from satisfying, free of fraud, the requirements set by Congress, the latter, apart from the exception noted, “becomes a member of the society, possessing all the rights of a native citizen, and standing, in the view of the constitution, on the footing of a native. The constitution does not authorize Congress to enlarge or abridge those rights. The simple power of the national Legislature, is to prescribe a uniform rule of naturalization, and the exercise of this power exhausts it, so far as respects the individual.” Osborn v. Bank of United States, 9 Wheat. 738, 827. And see Luria v. United States, 231 U.S. 9, 22 ; United States v. MacIntosh, 283 U.S. 605, 624 ; Knauer v. United States, 328 U.S. 654, 658 .