Alabama and Mississippi Republicans are evenly divided on whether President Obama is Muslim and are still working out their feelings on the legality of interracial marriage, according to new numbers by Democratic pollster PPP. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are currently locked in a close battle in the two states, which hold primaries this week.
Asked whether Obama is Christian or Muslim, some 45 percent of Alabama Republican respondents picked Muslim; 14 percent correctly identified him as Christian. Another 41 percent said they were unsure. In Mississippi, a majority of Republicans, 52 percent, identified Obama as Muslim; 12 percent said he was Christian and 36 percent were undecided.
Interracial marriage laws were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1967, but a significant minority of Mississippi and Alabama apparently still long for their return, or are at least ambivalent about the idea. In Alabama, 67 percent of respondents said interracial marriage should be allowed, but 21 percent said it should be illegal and another 12 percent were not sure. Mississippi Republican voters were even more divided: Only 52 percent said such marriages should be legal, versus 29 percent who said they should be banned and 17 percent who were unsure.
The poll surveyed 656 likely Republican voters in Mississippi and 600 likely Republican primary voters in Alabama on March 10-11.