The Pew Institute released the following graphics to visualize the shift in perception regarding the religion of the president:
The Pew Institute asked the poll question:
Now, thinking about Barack Obama’s religious beliefs… Do you happen to know what Barack Obama’s religion is? Is he Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, or something else?
Contrast the difference in opinion from 2009 to 2010 regarding the received religion of President Obama:
According to the Washington Post:
White House officials expressed dismay over the poll results. Faith adviser Joshua DuBois blamed “misinformation campaigns” by the president’s opponents…
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.
More than a third of conservative Republicans now say Obama is a Muslim, nearly double the percentage saying so early last year. Independents, too, are now more apt to see the president as a Muslim: Among independents, 18 percent say he is a Muslim, up eight percentage points.
Does it matter what the president’s religion is? Does it matter if a president attends church on a regular basis? Did either Bush attend church regularly? How about Clinton? Reagan?
Did the fact that Joe Lieberman is Jewish affect the outcome of his bid for vice president when he was on the Gore ticket?
What is your explanation for why the misperceptions about the president’s religion have shifted so much?
How much of the shift in perception is deliberate rumor mongering?
Is the Muslim issue in part because of 9/11? How much of the negativity is because it is perceived that President Obama is not Christian vs. Muslim?
Pew Institute Questionaire>