Now that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has acknowledged that President Barack Obama was born in the United States, how many of his supporters will still insist that the president is foreign-born?
Earlier this week, 51 percent of voters who back Trump said Obama was not born in the U.S., according to a YouGov/Economist poll. In comparison, 71 percent of all adults said he was born in America.
When asked how sure they were about the president’s birthplace, Trump supporters seemed less certain of their opinion than the overall population. Just 14 percent were sure that he was not born in the U.S. Twenty-five percent think it’s possible he was born outside the U.S. and 26 percent think it’s possible he was born in the U.S. The figures for Republicans were fairly similar.
But among all adults, 42 percent were sure that Obama was born here.
Other polls this year also show Trump supporters questioning Obama’s birthplace. A May survey conducted by the Democratic polling organization Public Policy Polling found that 59 percent of those with a favorable view of the GOP nominee think that Obama was not born in the U.S.
Republicans as a group have been consistently more likely to harbor these doubts than Democrats. A 2010 CNN/ORC poll found that 41 percent of Republicans believed that Obama was “probably” or “definitely” born in another country.
Facts have shifted GOP opinion in the past. In 2011, Trump whipped up the birther movement again and Obama released his long-form birth certificate (he had released the more common short form in 2008). An ABC/Washington Post poll conducted thereafter found a drop in the number of Republicans who questioned Obama’s citizenship.
It’s also possible that many Republicans don’t truly think Obama was born overseas. Instead, they could be communicating their dislike of the president by expressing doubt about his birthplace.
And sometimes, voters rely on partisanship to answer a poll question. If, say, their presidential nominee believes something, they may be more likely to support that view. Now that Trump has publicly changed his mind, polls may show Republicans shifting their stance, too.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.