Conservative Views on the President’s Faith and “Symbolic Belief”
Harry J Enten at the Guardian puts together some explanations for the continuance of polls showing many
conservatives still believe the President is Muslim:
The belief that Obama is something other than a Christian born in the United States has everything to do with ideology. Republicans are just perturbed beyond belief by Obama, and when you offer them a prompt about said person, they are likely to say anything that might be seen as a negative. It’s as Julian Sanchez (via Graham) put it, “symbolic belief”:
“Propositions you profess publicly, maybe even sincerely believe, you believe; even while, on another level, there’s some part of you that knows better.”
So, what should take away from this data? When you read this polling data about Obama being a Muslim, understand what it’s actually telling you. It’s fascinating from an ideological standpoint (that is, people are willing to say stuff they probably don’t believe, deep down), but nothing more.
Most Republicans probably don’t believe Obama is a Muslim. They just really, really don’t like him.