With the birther ranks declining after Barack Obama released his birth certificate it seemed like there was some potential 'deathers' - folks who think Osama bin Laden wasn't really killed last week- would become the next great American conspiracy theory. Alas that is not the case. Our national survey over the weekend found that 85% of voters really do think that bin Laden is dead with 8% unsure and only 7% convinced that he is still alive.
To put that into perspective on the conspiracy theory spectrum, a national survey we conducted in September of 2009 found that 10% of Americans thought (or at least said they they thought) that Barack Obama was the Anti-Christ to only 79% who could rule out the possibility. 11% on that survey said they weren't sure. So we've got more voters who think the President is the Anti-Christ than think Osama bin Laden is still alive.
Who are these few folks falling into the 'deather' camp? They're actually more eclectic than you might expect. 36% of them report having voted for John McCain in 2008 to 35% who say they voted for Obama. So they're not nearly as monolithically Republican as their birther cohorts. In fact the plurality of them, at 41% are independents, to 37% who are Republicans and 22% who are Democrats. There is unsurprisingly quite a bit of overlap between the deathers and the birthers- 47% of the folks who think bin Laden is still alive also don't believe Obama was born in the United States. And although only 34% of Americans overall think the bin Laden death photos should be released, 70% of the folks within this camp do.
When I started polling on birtherism 21 months ago I never imagined I would still be doing it today. But this is probably the first and last measure we'll take of the deathers- it's just not catching on.