Allahpundit weighs in on the Obama-the-Muslim poll here. He notes that the poll was taken before the mosque controversy had really taken off, agrees with a commentator who argued that the results were in part the consequence of an unpopular president being lumped in with an unpopular group, and then adds his belief that the underlying cause is broader than that:
Note that the change in the number of those who no longer say O is a Christian is twice as large as the number who insist he’s a Muslim; that’s evidence, I think, of Americans feeling so alienated by his policies that they’ve concluded he must be from a different planet culturally — if not Muslim, then at least certainly not Christian. In other words, whatever group he’s in, it ain’t theirs. (Pew missed a big opportunity here in not polling the atheism question, as I bet you’d see an uptick in that too.) As for why he’s so often accused of being Muslim, the default lefty explanation is of course racism but I think it’s more a combination of his middle name, his background growing up in Indonesia, and his attempt to win over Muslim public opinion with his Cairo speech last year. And all of that gets compounded by soundbites that are taken out of context or cleverly edited to make it sound like he’s making admissions about his “true faith.”
Allahpundit continues later:
[W]hen polling people who dislike candidate X, the specifics of the questions are almost irrelevant. As long as they’re negatively inclined — e.g., “Is Obama a werewolf?” — you’ll get a certain core percentage willing to say yes. The news in this poll is that as much as 18 percent think being a Muslim is inherently negative. But as I said above, that’s also true (if not more true) of atheism.
There’s quite a lot to that, I think. (H/t: Chris Bodenner.)