A new Gallup/USA Today poll turns the tables on Donald Trump: A survey finds that only 43% of Americans believe with certainty he was born in the US, and another 7% say he was probably or definitely born elsewhere. The results are good for more than just yuks, writes Nate Silver at his FiveThirtyEight blog in the New York Times. Keep them in mind with a dose of skepticism the next time a poll with similar numbers comes out about President Obama. (For comparison's sake: In the same poll, 38% say Obama was definitely born in the US and 24% say he was probably or definitely born elsewhere.)
"At least some fraction of the people who tell pollsters that Mr. Obama was foreign-born are probably kidding around, just as they are when the same question is asked of Mr. Trump," writes Silver. "I’d imagine that you could substitute virtually any name in the place of Mr. Trump or Mr. Obama—Bill Clinton, or Ronald Reagan, or Oprah Winfrey, or Dwight D. Eisenhower, or Mark Zuckerberg, or Sarah Palin—and find that at least a few Americans reported themselves to be 'birthers.'"