UPDATE: The AP/GfK updated the poll, which erroneously suggested 18 percent of Americans believe President Obama is Jewish: “2012 numbers have been updated to correct a typo showing 18 percent of respondents saying Obama is Jewish. The numbers for Muslim, some other religion, no religion, and don’t know were displayed in the wrong rows.”
Eighteen percent of Americans inexplicably think that President Barack Obama is Jewish, according to a new poll.
A survey commissioned by the Associated Press and conducted by GfK asked respondents to identify Obama’s religion from a list of possibilities. Thirty five percent said Obama had no religion, 28 percent correctly identified Obama as a protestant Christian, another 28 percent declined to answer, 18 percent said he was Jewish, 10 percent said he was Muslim and five percent said he was Catholic. Another two percent each said they didn’t know, or named some other religion.
In 2010, when AP/GfK asked the same question, zero percent of respondents identified Obama as Jewish. In 2011, the liberal New Yorker magazine ran a cover story declaring President Obama the “first Jewish president,” though it is unlikely the 18 percentage point jump in those thinking Obama is Jewish is entirely attributable to literal readers of that magazine.
When given options about Romney’s religion, 67 percent of the survey’s respondents correctly identified the Republican presidential nominee as a Mormon, 26 percent said they didn’t know his religion, two percent said he was a protestant, two percent said he was Catholic, and one percent said he was some other religion than the possibilities listed. Another two percent refused to answer the question.
The Racial Attitudes Survey measured a multitude of other aspects of the presidential race and race relations in the United States, but given its inexplicable results on the Obama religion query, it’s hard to take its other results particularly seriously.