The Slogan “Believe In America”: Translation, The Birthers Are Back In Town
Even after the release of his birth certificate, more Republicans than ever believe President Obama is foreign-born.
For most people, the “birther” conspiracy—centered on the belief that Barack Obama wasn’t a natural-born American citizen—ended when the president released his long-form birth certificate to the public last April. Birther claims were always bogus, but the release of the birth certificate was supposed to nail the coffin shut.
For a while, it did.
According to YouGov’s Adam Berinsky, the proportion of Americans who said that Obama was born in the United States rose from 55 percent before April 2011 to 67 percent afterward. Likewise, for Republicans—the group most likely to believe the conspiracy—the number who said Obama was born a citizen increased from 30 percent to 47 percent. Still low, but a real improvement.
Recently, Berinsky polled the question again, focusing on Republicans to see if their attitudes have changed in the ten months since the president released his birth certificate. Far from getting better, Republicans have actually doubled-down on the belief that Obama is foreign born:
Berinksy points to the durability of rumors in the face of lasting information as the culprit. As he writes, “Rumors tend to be sticky and merely repeating a rumor—even in the context of debunking that mistruth—increases its power.” Likewise, political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler have found that corrections often fail to reduce misperceptions among the target ideological group and that corrections can even backfire and strengthen false beliefs.
In addition to both factors, I wouldn’t be surprised if election-year rhetoric plays into it as well. Up until recently, the GOP hopefuls have struggled to distinguish themselves, and some candidates—like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich—have centered their attacks on the assumed “foreignness” of President Obama. The slogan “Believe in America,” for example, doesn’t actually make sense unless you assume that the president isn’t American enough to lead the country. And claims that Obama is a “Saul Alinsky radical” who “apologizes for America” and wants to adopt “European socialism” are nods to the myth that Obama is foreign-born (and thus, untrustworthy).
As the election heats up, and this rhetoric becomes more intense, I wouldn’t be surprised if the proportion of Republican birthers increases from its current high.
2 Comments »
Share This Blog
- “Republicans Feel The Burn — From Each Other”: GOP Entering The ‘Mad Max’ Phase Of Political Mayhem February 6, 2016
- “Struck Just The Right Note”: At Baltimore Mosque, Obama Crushes The Muslim Haters February 6, 2016
- “Taking Down Marco Rubio Is Easier Than You Think”: His Moderate Style Doesn’t Match His Extreme Policies February 6, 2016
- "Just Get Out Of My Way": This Progressive Doesn’t Need Your Lectures
- "Michael Moore’s Casual Chauvinism": To A Lot Of Men, The Woman-President Thing Just Isn’t Important
- "Struck Just The Right Note": At Baltimore Mosque, Obama Crushes The Muslim Haters
- "Hillary Unleashes The Kraken On Bernie": 'If You’ve Got Something To Say, Say It Directly'
- "Same Script": If "Establishment" Is Code For "Moderate," Media Need To Stop Calling Rubio The Establishment Candidate
- "Who’s The Ugly Loser Now?": Trump's Moment Of Magnanimity Did Not Last Very Long
Affordable Care Act African Americans Bain Capital Citizens United Congress Conservatives Contraception Corporations Debt Ceiling Democracy Democrats Donald Trump Economic inequality Economy Foreign Policy Fox News George W. Bush GOP GOP Presidential Candidates Government Shutdown Gun Control Gun Violence Health Exchanges Health Insurance Hillary Clinton House Republicans Immigration Immigration Reform Iraq War ISIS Jeb Bush Jobs John Boehner John McCain Koch Brothers Lindsey Graham Marco Rubio media Medicaid Medicaid Expansion Medicare Middle Class Middle East Minorities Mitch McConnell Mitt Romney National Security Newt Gingrich NRA ObamaCare Paul Ryan Politics Poor and Low Income Poverty Racism Rand Paul Republicans Rick Santorum Right Wing Ronald Reagan Rush Limbaugh Scott Walker SCOTUS Senate Spending Cuts Tax cuts Taxes Tea-party Teaparty Ted Cruz Terrorism uninsured Voter Suppression Wall Street Wealthy
- RT @neiltyson: “Look at that, you son of a bitch." https://t.co/JyeiOV7lgv----------- 2 hours ago
- RT @NicholsUprising: BREAKING: George Bush endorses Jeb Bush campaign. BROKEN: Jeb Bush campaign. https://t.co/dI17kTvDmc----------- 2 hours ago
- RT @pkni: If the democrats keep attacking each other, instead of GOP candidates, this will not end well! https://t.co/C5BaXpkINl----------- 2 hours ago
- RT @OutFrontCNN: .@BarneyFrank: @BernieSanders' [Wall Street] attack is not really on @HillaryClinton as much as it is on @POTUS https://t.…----------- 2 hours ago
- RT @MissLynneNYC: @HillaryClinton #MSNBC https://t.co/aVDLjTuRAf----------- 2 hours ago
- 231,803 hits