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Doubt about Obama's birthplace plummets in new poll

May 05, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli | Washington Bureau
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

It's not just the death of Osama bin Laden that's causing a swing in the polls. New data released by the Washington Post shows that President Obama's decision last week to release his long-form birth certificate may have successfully erased doubts among many about whether he was born in the United States.

In a survey conducted after Obama decried the "sideshow" of conspiracy theories about his birthplace, 10% of respondents still said the president was born outside of the country, a drop from 20% in a similar poll conducted one year earlier.

Of that 10%, just 1% said there is solid evidence that he was born in another country, while 8% said their answer was based purely on suspicion.

The drop was across partisan lines, but most pronounced among Republican respondents. Nearly a third -- 31% -- said last year he was born in another country, something that would make him constitutionally ineligible for the office of president. But now, 14% of Republicans said they held that view, a drop of 17%.

Last year, just 48% of respondents correctly identified Hawaii as the place where Obama was born; 70% now responded that way.

Obama started his speech at the White House correspondents dinner on Saturday by joking once again about the controversy, with a montage set to the tune of "Real American."

michael.memoli@latimes.com

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