Republican ‘Birthers’ Outnumber Democratic ‘Truthers’

September 23, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Public Policy Polling’s ongoing survey of American attitudes about presidential conspiracy theories continues with a fascinating look at the “birther” and “truther” sympathies of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. One takeaway: While some conservatives have brushed aside criticism of the “birthers” in their based by criticizing 9/11 conspiracy theorists on the left, there are far more conservative “birthers” than liberal “truthers.”

Forty-two percent of Republicans say President Obama was born outside the United States, while only 37 percent say he was born here. Twenty-five percent of Democrats say President George W. Bush let 9/11 happen, while 63 percent say he didn’t. Sixty-two percent of “liberals” say no, as do 62 percent of people who say they voted for Obama. The only element of the Democratic Party’s base with considerable 9/11 “truth” sympathies? African-Americans, only 46 percent of whom rule out a Bush connection.

Brendan Nyhan, writing about the poll at, takes credit for a strict 9/11 question framed to make sure no one who merely believed that Bush didn’t take the August 2001 “bin Laden determined to strike inside United States” argument seriously. The new question: “Do you think President Bush intentionally allowed the 9/11 attacks to take place because he wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East?”

Here’s a chart displaying the results:


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