- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2012

About one in six voters still thinks President Obama is Muslim while only half identify him as a Christian, according to a new national poll released Thursday.

Just 49 percent of voters surveyed by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life said the president is Christian, while 17 percent said he is Muslim and 31 percent did not know his religion. (Click here to view the poll results)

The percentage who think Mr. Obama is Muslim has actually increased by 5 percentage points since he was elected in 2008, although it has decreased 2 percentage points since an August 2010 poll.

Thursday’s poll showed that the percentage of Republicans who think Mr. Obama is Muslim has nearly doubled over the past four years, from 16 percent in 2008 to 30 percent this month.

However, pollsters said the issue is unlikely to hurt Mr. Obama much during his reelection campaign as the percentage of voters who are uncomfortable with his faith is only slightly greater than that of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

According to the poll, just 60 percent of voters identify Mr. Romney as a Mormon while 9 percent think he belongs to another religion and 32 percent do not know his faith.

Of voters surveyed, 19 percent said they were uncomfortable with Mr. Obama’s religion and 13 percent said the same for Mr. Romney.

The poll also found that 66 percent of voters think religion’s influence on American life is decreasing and that 49 percent of people who express that opinion consider it a bad thing.

• David Hill can be reached at dhill@washingtontimes.com.

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