Thursday, October 30, 2008

One-in-Four Texans See Obama as Muslim, Poll Finds

A new University of Texas survey on the presidential horse race finds that 23 percent of those polled believe that Barack Obama is Muslim:

A University of Texas poll to be released today shows Republican presidential candidate John McCain and GOP Sen. John Cornyn leading by comfortable margins in Texas, as expected. But the statewide survey of 550 registered voters has one very surprising finding: 23 percent of Texans are convinced that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Obama is a Christian who was embroiled in a controversy earlier this year about his two-decade membership in Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. Yet just 45 percent of those polled identified the Illinois senator as a Protestant.

The Obama-is-a-Muslim confusion is caused by fallacious Internet rumors and radio talk-show gossip. McCain went so far at one of his town hall meetings to grab a microphone from a woman who claimed that Obama was an Arab.

The Texas numbers are unusual because most national polls show that just 5 to 10 percent of Americans still believe Obama is a Muslim — less than half the number of Texans who buy into the debunked theories.
Readers can interpret this as they see fit.

My sense is that a large numbers of conservative Texans see Obama as "the other," and when asked about indicators on Obama's profile, respondents grasp to find mainstream elements about the Illinois Senator.