Despite President Obama’s adamant denials, and after more than three-and-a-half years into his historic presidency, the President is still believed to be a Muslim by a surprising number of Americans. Some 17 percent of registered voters still believe this fallacy, while almost a third claim they don’t know.

According to a poll released Thursday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 49 percent correctly identified him as a Christian, while 31 percent of respondents admitted they did not know.

The poll showed a striking increase in Republicans and conservative Republicans who say that the president is a Muslim. In October of 2008, 16 percent of both groups said that he was Muslim. This recent survey has 30 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of conservative Republicans identify him as Muslim.

This survey by the Pew Forum on Religion shows how much people believe the Republican propaganda machine and the spin by anti-Obama media outlets.

Those who said that the President is a Christian were more comfortable with his religion than those who said he is Muslim. Of those who believe he is Christian, 82 percent were comfortable with that status, while 65 percent were uncomfortable among those who identified him as a Muslim.

Of course, the evidence doesn’t justify the beliefs of those who say the President is Muslim. Recall that Obama was compelled to cut ties with his controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright during the 2008 elections — the man who married him and first lady Michelle Obama — after racially-inflammatory video clips of Wright’s sermons surfaced. The Obamas have frequented several churches in the Washington, D.C. area.

There is more to the Pew Forum on Religion that may help explain some of this. More respondents know that Mitt Romney is Mormon. Sixty percent of the Pew poll’s respondents correctly identified his religion, while 9 percent said “other” and 31 percent didn’t know. Sixty percent of those who said he is a Mormon were comfortable with his religion, 21 percent didn’t care and 19 percent were uncomfortable. That’s very interesting when you consider that even the most casual political observer would have known for quite some time what religion Romney professes his loyalty to.

— terry shropshire