Shocker poll from Kos/Research2000 today.
A whopping 58 percent of Republicans either think Barack Obama wasn't born in the US (28 percent) or aren't sure (30 percent). A mere 42 percent think he was.
That means a majority of Republicans polled either don't know about -- or don't believe the seemingly incontrovertible evidence Obama's camp has presented over and over and over that he was born in Hawaii in '61.
I'm not sure why. Participation in the "birther movement" has become part of the political identity of "near fringe" conservatism best identified with Glenn Beck and the tea parties, the kind of conservatives who are more strident than Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter but haven't moved to the "far fringes" of neo-Nazism, Ann Randism, or the KKK.
The fact that 58% of Republicans have at least some sympathy for the birther movement is a sign of the extent to which the GOP has shifted farther to the right in response to the election of Barack Obama.
Thrush wonders when people are going to "start a serious dialog about the Birther movement being a proxy for racism that is unacceptable to articulate in more direct terms?"
But I wonder if there aren't other fundamentals of conservatism at work here. For example, I wonder how Republicans would respond to a question like this:
"Is America still the country you were born in?"
I think a lot of Republicans would answer "no" or "not sure."
That's a real issue as well.