Gallup: 44% Don’t Know Obama’s Religion; 11% Say He’s Muslim; 8% Say He Has None

Terence P. Jeffrey | June 23, 2012 | 12:15pm EDT
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President Barack Obama shakes hands with Rev. Luis Leon as he leaves St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

( - Despite the fact that President Barack Obama says he is a Christian and formerly attended the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ, 44 percent of Americans say they do not know what Obama’s religion is, while 11 percent erroneously say he is a Muslim and 8 percent say he is “none/no religion,” according to a Gallup poll released Friday.

The group of those who say they do not know Obama’s religion crosses party lines, with 47 percent of Republicans saying they don’t know, 46 percent of Independents saying they don’t know, and 36 percent of Democrats saying they don’t know.

The group of those who say Obama is a Muslim also crosses party lines, with 18 percent of Republicans saying he is a Muslim, 12 percent of Independents, and 3 percent of Democrats.

Gallup’s analysis of its own poll incorrectly says that “[j]ust 34 percent of Americans correctly say U.S. President Barack Obama is a Christian”—including 20 percent who generically say he is a “Christian,” 7 percent who say he is a “Protestant,” 4 percent who say he is a “Baptist,” 2 percent who say he belongs to the United Church of Christ, and 1 percent who say he is a Methodist.

Gallup’s calculation that “just” these 34 percent say Obama is a Christian erroneously excludes another 2 percent who told Gallup they believe Obama is a “Catholic.” In its poll analysis, Gallup put “Catholic” outside its collective "Christian" category--along with “Muslim,” “None/No Religion” and “other.

Catholics, of course, are Christians, expressly adhering to the Apostles Creed, which says: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.”

Independents were more likely than Republicans or Democrats to believe that Obama was of “no religion” or “none.” Ten percent of Independents said that was their understanding, compared 7 percent of Republicans and 6 percent of Democrats.

“President Obama has been very open about his Christian faith since moving into the public spotlight,”  Gallup says in its own analysis of the survey. “In fact, his past attendance at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, with its controversial minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, itself became a heated point of political discussion during the 2008 presidential campaign.”

In this survey, Gallup interviewed 1,004 American adults from June 7-10. The survey asked the open-ended question: “Do you happened to know the religious faith of Barack Obama?” If the person said, yes, Gallup asked: “Can you tell me what Barack Obama’s religious faith is?”

In the same survey, Gallup asked: “Between now and the 2012 political conventions, there will be discussion about the qualifications of presidential candidates--their education, age, religion, race, and so on. If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be an atheist, would you vote for that person?”

Fifty-four percent said, yes, they would vote for an atheist for president if their party nominated one

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