What do Republicans think Obama believes deep down?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker answered “I don’t know” when asked whether he thought President Obama is a Christian. That led political scientist Alexander Theodoridis of the University of California campus at Merced to to post (on the Washington Post’s “Monkey Cage” blog) the results of a recent survey he took exploring the same question.

Theodoridis asked: “Which of these do you think most likely describes what President Obama believes deep down? Muslim, Christian, atheist, spiritual, or I don’t know.”

Obama professes to be a Christian and goes to church. But a surprisingly small portion of respondents accept that “Christianity” (whatever they might think that entails) is the best word to describe what he believes deep down. Unsurprisingly, the results vary significantly by political orientation, but they are all interesting. The responses were:

Among Democrats:

  • Christian: 45 percent
  • I Don’t Know: 26 percent
  • Spiritual: 17 percent
  • Muslim: 10 percent
  • Atheist: 2 percent

Among Independents:

  • I don’t know: 47 percent
  • Muslim: 26 percent
  • Christian: 16 percent
  • Spiritual: 9 percent
  • Atheist: 2 percent

Among Republicans:

  • Muslim: 54 percent
  • I don’t know: 29 percent
  • Christian: 9 percent
  • Atheist: 5 percent
  • Spiritual: 3 percent

Theodoridis noted that, among Republicans, Walker’s answer of “I don’t know” made him something of a moderate.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (31)

  1. Submitted by Rosalind Kohls on 02/25/2015 - 01:36 pm.


    According to my religion, only God knows what a person truly believes. However, our statements and actions form a witness to what we believe is true. That is why we have a saying at our church, “If Christianity were a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
    Based on President Obama’s words and actions, I believe he is agnostic, not fully atheist.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/25/2015 - 04:00 pm.

      Please be specific

      about what evidence you have that he is lying when he says that he is a Christian.
      One cannot be both an agnostic and a Christian.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 02/25/2015 - 04:39 pm.


      Another question to ask at your church: if Christianity were a criminal rather than the crime, would there be enough evidence to convict it?

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 02/25/2015 - 02:53 pm.

    I Have No Doubt that Among “Conservatives”

    clergy and members of every moderate-to-liberal denomination,…

    and even the current Pope,…

    do not qualify as Christians,…

    because in order to be a “Christian” in their minds, one must agree with them, without reservation, on each and every issue they hold most dear,…

    (no matter that the Bible often DISagrees with them),…

    which only goes to show that they do not worship the God of Jesus Christ,…

    but only the false god their leaders have created for them in the image of the same dysfunctions that cause them all to rigidly maintain their extreme “conservatism,”

    and make them unable to allow to enter their awareness any and all factual evidence which reveals their ideas, ideals and stances to be mistaken, misguided,…

    or completely false.

    For such folks, President Obama cannot possibly a “Christian” for no other reason than that he disagrees with them,…

    their own “conservative” perspective being the arbiter of ALL things.

  3. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 02/25/2015 - 03:17 pm.

    Should have been another possible

    Answer in that poll:

    “None of my business so I don’t care”

    Then we would have found out how intelligent the responders were.

  4. Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 02/25/2015 - 04:38 pm.

    Can We Trust Republicans?

    Other polls show that a third of Republicans still believe that President Obama is not an American citizen and another third “aren’t sure”, and, that more than one-half or Republicans believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction but are hidden somewhere.

    How can we trust a Republican Party that is still engaged in such self-delusion?

  5. Submitted by jason myron on 02/26/2015 - 07:04 am.

    Better than that

    49% don’t believe in evolution, 57% of them want to get rid of that pesky 1st amendment of their blessed constitution and establish Christianity as the national religion. 1/3rd of Louisiana Republicans blame Obama for Katrina… you also have Republican lawmakers that think cancer is a fungus that can be flushed from the body and if a woman swallows a tiny camera, a doctor can perform a remote gynecologic exam.
    I wouldn’t trust these people to park my car.

  6. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/26/2015 - 07:28 am.

    Rev. Jeremiah Wright.Ring

    Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

    Ring any bells in the delusion fogged mind?

    Or was that part of the multi-generation scheme to place Obama in the White House?

  7. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/26/2015 - 07:49 am.

    The best comment

    …so far came from Logan Foreman.

    Based on the statistics being tossed around, it would seem that the Republican Party is made up of delusional racists. This is not an especially flattering public face for a political party that hopes to win political office in a nation where most political jurisdictions are ethnically, racially and religiously diverse.

    Mr. Swift, by the way, is partly correct in pointing out the chemical weapons destroyed by U.S. forces after the invasion of Iraq. The part that he conveniently leaves out is that the war was sold to the public, not on the basis of chemical weapons, horrific as they might be, but through the descriptions of those “weapons of mass destruction” as nuclear ones, with accompanying visions of mushroom clouds.

    As bad as chemical weapons are, they’re not in the same league as even a tactical-level nuclear explosion, and administration propaganda at the time barely mentioned chemical weapons. All the emphasis was on the nuclear threat from Iraq, which was, and remains, nonexistent. Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Wolfowitz and others are bald-faced liars with a lot of blood on their hands.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 02/26/2015 - 11:27 am.

      As Mr. Schoch correctly points out

      weapons of mass destruction were sold to the American public as nuclear.

      Chemical warfare has a long history. Chlorine gas, etc. To claim that possession of these things is justification for the Iraq war is pathetic. The gassing of the Kurds occurred before the Iraq war. The Bush administration was curiously quiet about this, if these were “weapons of mass destruction.”

      Bush has the “weapons of mass destruction i. e. nuclear weapons” claim solidly on his record.

      For example:

      President Bush cited the uranium deal, along with the aluminum tubes, in his State of the Union Message, on January 28th, while crediting Britain as the source of the information: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” He commented, “Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.”

      source link:
      Who Lied to Whom?
      Why did the Administration endorse a forgery about Iraq’s nuclear program?

      And of course, why was Colin Powell upset that he had been lied to about weapons of mass destruction? And what is yellow cake? The attempt to justify the Iraq war by false claims about weapons has just left too many finger prints on the Bush administration’s record for right wingers to blithely dismiss.

  8. Submitted by cory johnson on 02/26/2015 - 09:44 am.

    His religion or lack thereof is far less concerning than…

    His fierce commitment to Socialism and taking our country down several pegs. Let’s remeber that this whole “controversy” was contrived by a leftist “journalist”. This is red meat for the smug Democrats who love to look down their noses at conservatives.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 02/26/2015 - 03:04 pm.

      If he’s a socialist

      he might be the worst one ever. And please explain to us how reporting Giuliani’s exact words from a speech makes his situation contrived, much less by “leftist” journalists like Megan Kelly. I’ll save the irony of an accusation of smugness from the same side who actually has the temerity to accuse the duly, twice-elected president of our country of sedition, communism, socialism and not even being born in this country,for another day.

      • Submitted by cory johnson on 02/26/2015 - 07:30 pm.

        This article is about Walker not Giuliani

        A reporter from the Washington Post was trying to drag him into a contrived controversy. He refused to take the bait and now people are trying to say he doesn’t think Obama is a Christian. Pathetic.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/27/2015 - 09:13 am.

          Contrived controversy

          What is truly pathetic is how this controversy was contrived. Rudy Giuliani made inflammatory remarks about President Obama that were received favorably.

          Governor Walker had the chance to distance himself from those remarks, but was afraid of alienating the base. If he had trul;y “refused to take the bait,” he could have said something like “I don’t know and I don’t care.” He couldn’t do that, of course. Refusing to demonize the President in any way possible (“I don’t know if he’s Christian, but he sure is a Commie!!!”) is apostasy to the Republicans.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 02/26/2015 - 11:13 pm.

      Worst socialist ever is right!

      I know a number of real Socialists, as in so real that they refuse to vote Democratic but prefer the Greens, Socialists, or Communists.

      Not one of them thinks of Obama as a “comrade.” Not one.

      If you look at what Obama has actually DONE, as opposed to what they say in the right-wing media, he doesn’t have a Socialist bone in his body. A real Socialist would not have bailed out the banks, renewed the Patriot Act, expanded Mitt Romney’s health plan nationwide, or put advocates of privatizing Social Security on the Simpson-Bowles Commission, and that’s just for starters.

      Anybody who thinks Obama is a Socialist or a Marxist or anything else left of Rockefeller Republican needs to read the Communist Manifesto and the websites of parties such as the Greens, the Democratic Socialists of America, and the Socialist Workers’ Party.

      I know what the Tea Party, the Republicans, and the Libertarians believe, and it would be nice if they would return the favor.

  9. Submitted by Roy Everson on 02/26/2015 - 10:37 am.

    Pet peeve: Journalistic mindreaders

    One of the basics of Journalism 101 is that you do not read the minds of sources. Not “he believes” the suspect had red hair, rather “he said the suspect had red hair. We do not know what the subject believes. It’s even more true of thousands of individuals you don’t know. That basic rule is violated every Christmas and Easter at the Vatican when journalists describe the Pope’s audience as “the faithful”. So they have faith, do they? Who knows? How miraculous of these journalist reporters to develop the skill of mindreading not just one individual but thousands of People hanging out for the big holiday Speech by the pope.
    It’s the pope’s audience, that’s all we know for sure.

    This question of Obama’s religion is best answered, I don’t know and I don’t care.

  10. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 02/28/2015 - 09:41 am.

    ” Frankly I don’t give a dam”

    Dumb question; stupid speculation, wow:

    What can one say in a nation where separation of church and state is a given? Do remember this is not a theocratic nation….

    Obama can be whatever he chooses oh you/ye of little ‘fate’, whomever?

    Or think of it this way – with little certitude from another angle?…if there is a god he’s not telling?

  11. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 02/28/2015 - 10:27 am.

    Are we not blind mice nibbling at a dumb question?

    The very highlighting of the issue; the question itself is possibly like treating the commenters as hungry mice; something to nibble on or debate whatever the viewpoint?

    Even reconsidering the “deep down Republicans’ as so implied in the title… those words suggest an oxymoron… with accent on the last two syllables?

    So I fell for it too on a cold Saturday, so who am I to complain?

    Maybe religion haunts us trying to understand what we cannot prove rationally?

    I for one when-my time-has-come ‘as they say, will probably stand at those caricatured pearly gates and question the pearls, real or fake as the Saint Peter prayerfully informs me “You have the wrong address”.

    In a nation where religion is a personal choice this is an absurd issue and not good to honor the absurd question..recognize Obama’s religion, which is separated from state…honor his right to choose his own way to go here; his choice

    Or as My great Aunt Berta would respond, ” Never mind.’

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/03/2015 - 08:58 am.


    I see that widespread confusion among the religious ranks regarding the nature of religion and faith remains widespread and deeply entrenched.

    I think most bizarre muse I’ve seen here the proposition that God and God alone can make the judgment as to whether or not a person has been faithful… followed a challenge to make exactly that judgement based on fallible and ignorant appraisal’s of evidence some kind as if faith can be equated with a crime.

    Sure, only God can make that judgement, but here’s my judgement regarding Obama? Did I miss something here? When did all these people become God? The mind boggles.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/03/2015 - 09:11 am.


    Obama is a Christian, period. He attends a Christian church (and always has) and believes that Jesus Christ is his Savior. The Bible is his source of religious instruction and scripture. Now, as with everyone else, how good a Christian he may or may not be is between him and God, and like everyone he’ll find out how good a Christian hes been if or when he stands before God in judgment. No one else is qualified or capable of judging the quality of Obama’s faith. The logic of this is inescapable even for an Atheist.

    But here’s the thing: For some bizarre reasons the more republican Americans are, the more confused and out right mistaken they are regarding this simple, basic, publicly observable and verifiable fact. And this is supposed to be something that’s really important to them. Think about that

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/03/2015 - 09:31 am.


    Not mention, these are the self same people who would tell us whether or not Obama and anyone else “loves” America.


    • Submitted by jason myron on 03/03/2015 - 12:51 pm.

      And to your point, Paul…

      I just happened to read a piece over on Redstate the other day, that not only defended questioning Obama’s faith, but claimed it was a Christian duty to judge others. I was awed in their ability to attempt to twist the teachings of Christ into validating their ideology.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/04/2015 - 08:47 am.


        Unfortunately some religious believers can’t resist the temptation to conclude that believing in an infallible God makes them infallible. The impulse to substitute their own opinions for God’s judgement is too strong. The virtue of humility is lost on such souls. Of course the irony is always that such impulses are theologically incoherent in almost any monotheistic religion.

        It reminds me of a time on some TV show that Michelle Bachmann bristled at the observation that she was judgmental… she didn’t have the insight to realize that she was actually being judgmental!

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/04/2015 - 08:57 am.

        And back to my point Jason…

        To the everlasting shame of American Christian’s these judgmental blowhards have by and large passed themselves off as the voice of Christianity and Religion in America for several decades. We are just now seeing other Christian’s step up and declare: “No, these people do not speak for us” regarding civil rights, the environment, greed, inequality, “values”, etc. etc. It’s a welcome development, but it would have been useful a litter sooner.

Leave a Reply