In an effort to gauge “fringe” sentiments, Public Policy Polling added a couple of interesting questions to its recent national poll:
“Do you think Barack Obama was born in the United States?”
“Do you think President Bush intentionally allowed the 9/11 attacks to take place because
he wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East?”
Over at Pollster.com, Brendan Nyhan put the results into a chart, broken down by party affiliation. The chart combines those who said “yes” and those who said they were uncertain. For example, 25 percent of Democrats said they believed Bush had allowed the attacks of 9/11 to take place, while another 12 percent said they weren’t sure. Nyhan charts that at 37 percent.
Likewise, 42 percent of Republicans said they believe Obama was not born in the United States, and another 22 percent said they weren’t sure, for a total on the chart of 64 percent.
Personally, I doubt the numbers are that high. In the course of answering a poll, people can tend to treat statements like these as expressions of political loyalty or antipathy. They don’t really believe that Bush allowed Sept. 11 to happen or that Obama isn’t a citizen, but the question gives them a way to voice their more general opposition to those figures.
At least that’s what I keep telling myself, because otherwise I’d have to believe there are a lot of crazy people in this country.