By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Dixie may once have been the so-called land of cotton, but it has become the cradle of creeping Birtherism. According to a new poll from Research 2000 (commissioned by Daily Kos), a majority of Southerners either believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States (23 percent) or are not sure (30 percent). Only 47 percent of Southern respondents believe Obama was born in the USA. By contrast, 93 percent of Northeasterns said yes, he was born here, 90 percent of Midwesterners did and 87 percent of Westerners.
And while 93 percent of Democrats say he was born in the country and 83 percent of Independents, the figure is only 42 percent for Republicans. A majority of Republicans either believe he was born abroad (28 percent) or don't know (30 percent).
If you don't know, Birthers are the people who argue either that Obama was not born in the United States or that credible questions remain surrounding his birth place. There has been a recent uptick in media interest in birthers, apparently spurred by a youtube video showing moderate GOP Rep. Mike Castle getting shrieked at by a near-hysterical birther and then booed when he asserted that yes, the president is a U.S. citizen.
I had assumed that the Birthers were a loud, bemusing hyper-minority in the GOP, so the poll numbers are startling both for the region and for the party.