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Puzzling poll numbers

August 19, 2010, 7:15 pm | Posted by Dan Nejfelt

A Pew poll released today revealed a trove of interesting and important data. The most-discussed finding is that 18 percent of Americans mistakenly believe President Obama is a Muslim, up from 11 percent who believed that in March 2009. Amy Sullivan and James Besser have interesting comments on this. A few things jumped out at me:

· Between March 2009 and July 2010, belief that Obama is a Muslim increased among demographic group listed in the survey, but the biggest increase was among conservative Republicans (from 18% to 34%).

· As Amy pointed out, 60 percent of those who believe Obama is a Muslim say they learned about his faith from the media.

· 58 percent of Americans have heard of the religious right, and 41 percent of Americans have heard of the religious left. However, only 10 percent say they’ve heard a lot about the religious left. I’d love to see how much the latter two figures have changed since 2004.

· 52 percent of conservative Republicans and 34 percent of liberal Democrats have heard of the religious left. Could this have something to do with Glenn Beck’s sustained attacks on social justice?

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