By David Meeks
March 12, 2012, 1:39 p.m.
Recalling his childhood, Obama has said his family did not go to church every week, but said his faith grew as he got older and that his Christian beliefs have guided his career in public service.
Various anti-Obama activist groups have repeatedly sought to perpetuate the myth that he is a “secret Muslim,” and with some success. A University of Georgia poll conducted during the 2008 presidential campaign showed that, despite great efforts by Obama and his team to refute the claim, a persistent 20% of Americans continued to believe he was a Muslim.
Obama is the son of a white mother and a black father, a marriage that remains objectionable to many Republican voters in two of the last states forced by the Supreme Court to allow interracial marriage. A 1967 court ruling on the case of a Virginia couple struck down laws against interracial marriage still on the books in 16 states, including Mississippi and Alabama.
A few states, including Alabama, kept the laws even though they could no longer be enforced. Alabama finally repealed its law in 2000 through a public referendum, though 40% of the electorate voted in favor of keeping interracial marriage illegal.
The PPP poll released Monday showed some changes, with 67% of Alabama Republicans saying they believe interracial marriage should be legal, though 21% said it still should be against the law. In Mississippi, 54% said it should be allowed, while 29% said it should remain illegal.
The preferred Republican candidate of those opposed to interracial marriage? Newt Gingrich. In Mississippi, Gingrich led Romney among that group 40% to 27%, and held a 38%-27% advantage in Alabama.
The PPP poll used automated telephone interviews on March 10-11 to survey 1,256 likely Republican voters in Mississippi and Alabama. Such surveys are not considered as reliable as live interviews because they are automated and cannot make use of mobile telephone numbers. The poll sampling error for Mississippi is 3.8% and for Alabama is 4%.