by Charles Lemos, Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 11:44:20 PM EDT
Two recent polls point to a rather perturbing trend, more Americans now believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim than ever before.
A survey conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center and its affiliated Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found 18 percent, or nearly one in five, said they think Obama is Muslim, up from the 11 percent who said so in March 2009, according to a poll released Thursday. The proportion who correctly note that he is a Christian is down to just 34 percent. An astounding 43 percent said that they didn't know his religion, an increase from the 34 percent who said that in early 2009. The Pew poll found that about three in 10 Republicans think Barack Obama is a Muslim. Among independents, 18 percent say Obama is Muslim -- up from 10 percent last year.
In another poll by Time magazine/ABT SRBI conducted Monday and Tuesday -- after Obama's comments about the mosque -- 24 percent said they think he is Muslim, 47 percent said they think he is Christian and 24 percent didn't know or didn't respond.
According to the Pew poll conducted in October 2008, only 12 percent of Americans believed that Obama was a Muslim on the eve of his election. Then white evangelical Protestants (19 percent) and Republicans (17 percent) were among the most likely to view Obama as a Muslim. Fewer than half in each group -- 38 percent of white evangelicals and 46 percent of Republicans -- correctly identify Obama as a Christian. On the plus side, fewer Americans must now think that he is not a member of Black Liberation Theology Church.
More from Washington Post:
Among those who say Obama is a Muslim, 60 percent say they learned about his religion from the media, suggesting that their opinions are fueled by misinformation.
But the shifting attitudes about the president's religious beliefs could also be the result of a public growing less enamored of him and increasingly attracted to labels they perceive as negative. In the Pew poll, 41 percent disapprove of Obama's job performance, compared with 26 percent disapproval in its March 2009 poll.