According to a new poll, a majority of Republicans thinks President Obama favors the interests of Muslim Americans over other Americans and that he wants to impost Islamic Sharia law throughout the world.
From Talking Points Memo (emphasis mine):
The poll asked: "Some people have alleged that Barack Obama sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world. From what you know about Obama, what is your opinion of these allegations?"
The top-line result was definitely true 7%, probably true 24%, probably not true 36%, and definitely not true 25%. Among Republicans, however, it was definitely true 14%, probably true 38%, probably not true 33%, and definitely not true 7%.
Another question asked: "Thinking about Barack Obama and what he has said about issues like the proposal to build an Islamic cultural center and mosque a few blocks from the World Trade Center site in New York City... Do you think Obama favors the interests of Muslim Americans over other groups of Americans, or do you think he has generally been even-handed?"
The top-line result: favoring Muslims 30%, he has been even-handed 60%. Republicans said that Obama favors Muslims by 59%-34%, Democrats said he has been even-handed by 82%-9%, and independents pretty much matched the top-line, saying he has been even-handed by 62%-28%.
It's interesting to note not only that a majority of Republicans believe Obama wants to impose Islamic law, but that a large portion of those respondents would only say it that such a severe accusation was "probably" true.
At a certain point, when it comes to questions like birtherism, Islam or any number of other outlandish accusations, you get the feeling that a lot of Republican respondents simply like to give the somewhat negative response about Obama just out of spite rather than serious belief.
This is not so unbelievable considering that someone like Rush Limbaugh, who refers to the president as “Imam Hussein Obama,” is considered a mainstream voice on the Right.
UPDATE: Also from Newsweek, a new study shows that because of something called "motivated reasoning," people are more likely to buy false claims about someone if they perceive those claims to be negative and they already have a dislike for that person. The tacit endorsement of such claims about the president by the Republican political leadership doesn't help...