Releasing That Birth Certificate Kind of Worked


When President Obama released his long-form birth certificate last week (remember when that was a big story?), it wasn’t clear how convincing the document would be for people who already believed that he’d been born in Kenya. “Will this put birtherism to rest? Probably not,” we wrote at the time. “Many people will be convinced. Many others will just assume that it’s a fake.” After all, if it was evidence those skeptics required, there was already plenty of it available, including the official state-sanctioned short-form birth certificate and two contemporaneous announcements in Hawaiian newspapers. Why wouldn’t this become just another piece of evidence to ignore?

As it turns out, some people still remain unconvinced. When asked (before Osama’s death, FYI) where Obama was born, a stubborn 10 percent still said somewhere abroad. But that’s half as many as the 20 percent who held that opinion a year ago. The reduction comes from across the ideological spectrum, too, with a drop-off in birtherism among Democrats, independents, and Republicans. In fact, the biggest drop-off occurred among Republicans, from 31 percent birther in April 2010 to 17 percent birther in April 2011. Do they still think he’s a socialist who wants to take their guns and force soldiers to have gay sex with one another? Probably! But it’s progress.

Poll: Number of ‘birthers’ plummets [Behind the Numbers/WP]