Just 34% of Americans correctly say President Barack Obama is a Christian, while 44% say they don’t know Obama’s religion and 11% say he is a Muslim.
Obama is a Christian and has labeled himself as such in his writings and interviews, and while living in Chicago he attended the Trinity United Church of Christ. Since moving into the White House, Obama has attended several different Christian churches.
Americans are indeed more likely to say Obama is a Christian — mostly a generic “Christian” or “Protestant” — than to say he identifies with any other religion. In addition to those who name a specific religion or don’t offer a guess, 8% say he does not have a religious affiliation.
Americans are more likely to know Mitt Romney’s religion than Obama’s religion, with most Americans correctly saying Romney is a Mormon and a smaller 33% saying they don’t know.
Democrats are more likely than Republicans to be able to name a religious faith for Obama, and are more likely to say Obama is a Christian. Just 3% of Democrats say Obama is a Muslim.
Republicans are less likely than Democrats to say what Obama’s faith is and are more likely to say Obama is a Muslim. It is unclear whether the 18% of Republicans who say Obama is a Muslim do so because they truly believe this is his religion, or because it is a politically charged idea.
Independents are generally more akin to Republicans than to Democrats in their views of Obama’s religion.
President Obama has been very open about his Christian faith since moving into the public spotlight. In fact, his past attendance at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, with its controversial minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, itself became a heated point of political discussion during the 2008 presidential campaign. Still, just 34% of Americans say Obama is a Christian when asked what his religion is. Forty-four percent say they don’t know his religion, while 11% — mostly Republicans and independents — say he is a Muslim.
Both Obama’s religion and his birthplace have been points of controversy in his public career. These data show that in terms of his religion, most Americans do not adhere to the belief that he is a Muslim. However, the fact that almost one in five Republicans do hold this belief suggests the potential for continuing controversy on this issue in the months ahead.