RALEIGH, N.C., March 12 (UPI) -- About half of Alabama and Mississippi Republican voters think President Obama is a Muslim and nearly two-thirds don't believe in evolution, a poll indicates.
Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, N.C., said in a release on its Web site Monday it found 45 percent of those polled in Alabama think Obama, a self-proclaimed Christian, is actually a Muslim, while 41 percent said they were not sure and only 14 percent think he is a Christian. In neighboring Mississippi, the percentages break down at 52 percent believing he is a Muslim, 36 percent unsure and 12 percent saying he is a Christian.
Sixty percent of Alabamans and 66 percent of Mississippians do not believe in evolutionary biology. Only about a quarter do accept the science of evolution -- 26 percent in Alabama and 22 percent in Mississippi -- with the remainder "not sure."
The polling firm said it appears the primary elections that will be held in the two states Tuesday will be tight. In Mississippi, Newt Gingrich, who represented Georgia in Congress for 20 years, held a 33 percent to 31 percent lead over Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, with Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, favored by 27 percent and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 7 percent.
In Alabama, Romney polled 31 percent to 30 percent for Gingrich, 29 percent for Santorum and 8 percent for Paul, the firm said.
"About all we know for sure about Tuesday's primaries is that Ron Paul will finish last in them," company President Dean Debnam said. "Beyond that it's plausible that any of the candidates could finish between first and third in both Alabama and Mississippi."
The firm surveyed 656 likely Republican voters in Mississippi and 600 likely Republican primary voters in Alabama Saturday and Sunday using automated telephone interviews. The margin of error for the Mississippi poll is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points and for the Alabama poll it's 4 points.