WASHINGTON — After nearly four years in the Oval Office, President Obama is incorrectly thought to be Muslim by one in six American voters, and only one quarter of voters can correctly identify him as a Protestant, according to a new poll.
Voters do better identifying Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith, according to a poll released Thursday (May 10) by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service. A slim majority of voters — 51 percent — knows the presumed Republican presidential nominee is Mormon.
Is there something insidious behind the belief, a concerted attack to link the president with a religion that’s considered alien — or worse — by some Americans?
“I think it’s more a lack of information than an attack on him,” said Al-Suwaij.
While Americans across the board get the president’s religion wrong, the religious group that most often thinks Obama is Muslim is white evangelical Protestants (24 percent). American unaffiliated with a religious group make the error least often: just 7 percent identify Obama as Muslim.
The poll also found that white evangelical Protestants, who were suspicious of Romney in the early GOP primaries, are warming up to Romney now that he’s the presumptive nominee. The poll also showed:
— Obama maintains a significant lead over Romney in a head-to-head matchup (47 to 38 percent).
— Sixteen percent of voters have yet to make up their minds about a presidential candidate. Among this group, Obama holds a slight edge (42 to 37 percent).
— More than 60 percent of white evangelical, white mainline Protestant and Republican voters know that Romney is Mormon. Less than half of Catholic and Democratic voters know this.
The poll, of 1,006 Americans surveyed between May 2 and 6, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.