PPP, which is a Democratic firm, is sometimes maligned for being an unreliable pollster, but in this case the biggest problem is that they’re asking the question at all. The belief that Obama is a Muslim, like the belief that he is somehow not an American citizen, is pernicious and flatly wrong. It has also been rejected by the vast majority of the American body politic, although there are some glaring examples of politicians who flirt with it to score political points. But if the goal is to fight mistaken beliefs, this is the wrong way to do it.
Immortalized in movies like Talledega Nights or TV series like Eastbound and Down, making fun of Southerns and their sometimes backward beliefs has become the fodder of Hollywood. But, one has to wonder whether this poll is a true reflection of what Southern voters really believe or is another chance to mock them. It is true that many living in the South question the president’s birthplace and religion, but is this poll really measuring that sentiment? It appears that the true purpose of this poll is to mock those who believe the president to be Muslim, rather than measuring the degree of that sentiment.
Do you think that polls such as these have in place in American politics? Is there a value in asking questions that border on truthful, or even plausible? Or can, as the author of this piece suggests, polls such as these serve only to perpetuate myths, rather than examining them?