A majority of likely Republican presidential primary voters don’t believe President Obama was born in the United States, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
The survey, from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP), found 51 percent of Republicans who said they’re likely to vote in next year's GOP presidential primary doubt the president's birthplace. Just 28 percent of Republicans believe that Obama was born in Hawaii, while another 21 percent are unsure.
The number marks a jump from the last time PPP asked the question in August 2009. At that time, 44 percent of Republicans said they didn’t believe Obama was born in the U.S.
Questions over the president’s birthplace and religion began to circulate online during the 2008 presidential election. Obama was born in Hawaii and is a Christian.
Republicans who doubt Obama was born in the U.S. preferred former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee among GOP presidential possibilities in 2012.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the top choice among the 28 percent who do believe Obama was born in the U.S.
The poll also found a stark divide on approval of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin between those two sets of voters. Those who doubt Obama was born in the U.S. are much more likely to approve of Palin.
Eighty-three percent of Republicans who doubt Obama’s birthplace view Palin favorably, compared to 47 percent of the rest of those polled.
Over the weekend, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was asked on NBC's “Meet the Press” about so-called “birthers” in the GOP.
Boehner said while he believes that Obama was born in Hawaii and takes the president at his word on his religious beliefs, “It's not my job to tell the American people what to think.”
“The state of Hawaii has said he was born there. That’s good enough for me,” Boehner said.