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Several weeks ago, I walked into a barbershop and took a seat. To busy myself, I flipped through a couple of magazines. The barber in front of me struck up a conversation with the fellow seated before him.  The barber was short, white and in his 60s. The customer fit the same demographics except for few things. One thing was he was a bit odd—before taking his turn, the customer sat very close (almost hugging) to a gumball machine. About every five minutes he would get another handful of gumballs and shove them into his mouth. Another difference between the customer and the barber was that the customer was quite unkept. I can not remember the exact words but the conversation went something like this:

Barber: I was listening to Jimmy Swaggart[1] last night on the radio.

Customer: hmmm

Barber: He talked about the Obama and the coming of the Anti-Christ. [Actually, I interpreted the barber, through his gestures and nuances in his speech, to suggest that Obama and the Anti-Christ were one and the same.]

Customer: I am glad that Swaggart didn’t run for president.

Barber: hmmm

Customer: Bush was not much better.

Barber: But Bush Senior and Reagan were right.

Customer: ….

That experience got me to wondering just how many Americans believe in Armageddon and or the anti-Christ. Consider these results from a 1999 Newsweek nationwide poll of 755 adults.(Woodward and Underwood 1999). Forty percent of all respondents believe in Armageddon. The range is from a high of 71 percent of Evangelical Protestants to 18 percent of Catholics.

Q. Now, regarding your own religious beliefs: Do you believe that the world will end, as the Bible predicts, in a battle at Armageddon between Jesus and the Antichrist?

All Adults All Christians Evangelical Protestants Other Protestants Catholics
Yes 40% 45% 71% 28% 18%
No 42% 39% 18% 54% 57%
Don’t know 18% 16% 11% 18% 25%

Another question asked respondents, who believed in biblical prophecy about Armageddon, “Do you believe the Antichrist is on Earth now?” Forty-seven percent said yes, 31 percent said no, and 22 percent did not know.

The Public Policy Poll (PPP) conducted a survey in September 2009 in New Jersey of 500 likely voters (Debnam 2009). They were asked, “Do you think Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ?” Overall, eight percent of the sample agreed that the president was the anti-Christ and 13 percent were not sure. Likewise, eight percent of male and female respondents agreed that Obama was the anti-Christ. By race and ethnicity, 7 percent of whites and 24 percent of Hispanics said yes. What is even more interesting is the percentages by race of respondents who were not sure if Obama is or is not the anti-Christ: 12 percent for whites, 18 percent for Hispanics, 11 percent for African Americans, and 15 percent for others.

Another interesting finding in the PPP data is that 5 percent of Obama voters thought he was the anti-Christ and another 5 percent who voted for him were not sure! Refer to table below.

By Voting Pattern

Total McCain Obama Someone Else/Don’t Remember
Yes 8% 12% 5% 5%
No 79% 68% 90% 77%
Not Sure 13% 21% 5% 18%

The latest data on Obama and the anti-Christ is from the people at Harris Poll. Harris Interactive conducted an online poll in the first week of March 2010. There were 2,320 respondents (Taylor 2010). Respondents with higher levels of education are less likely to agree that Obama is the anti-Christ. Eighteen percent of respondents with only high school or less agreed, followed by 13 percent for respondents with some college, 9 percent for college graduates, and 4 percent for post-graduates.

Next, I compared the New Jersey PPP results with the National Online Harris results (Yes, Obama may be/is the Anti-Christ) along political ideology and party affiliation. Nationally, Republicans and Independents are much more likely to believe Obama is the anti-Christ than for the New Jersey sample. This is especially true for independents, where nearly three times as many independents at the national level agree with the statement than do the New Jersey sample of Independents.

By Poll and Party Affiliation

New Jersey National
Democrat 6% 6%
Republican 14% 24%
Independent 4% 13%

Respondents at the national level are more likely to say that Obama is the anti-Christ but the magnitude of difference along political ideology about this question between the New Jersey and national sample was not as large as was the case for party affilliation.

By Poll and Political Ideology

New Jersey National
Liberal 8%
Moderate 6% 9%
Conservative 18% 24%

References

Debnam, Dean. 2009. Obama Popularity Dropping in New Jersey. Raleigh, North Carolina: Public Policy Polling http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/surveys/2009_Archives/PPP_Release_NJ_916.pdf.

Taylor, Humphrey. 2010. ‘Wingnuts’ and President Obama. Harris Interactive http://news.harrisinteractive.com/profiles/investor/ResLibraryView.asp?BzID=1963&ResLibraryID=37050&Category=1777.

Woodward, Kenneth L., and Anne Underwood. 1999. “The Way the World Ends. (Cover story).” Newsweek 134:66.


[1] Jimmy Swaggart is a famous radio and TV evangelist who ran into trouble in the late 1980s for soliciting sex from a prostitute.

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Comments on: "The Politics of Anti-Christ" (1)

  1. davidhoskins said:

    “Another interesting finding in the PPP data is that 5 percent of Obama voters thought he was the anti-Christ and another 5 percent who voted for him were not sure!”

    What!? What did the people who voted for him believing he is or could be the antichrist think they were doing by voting for him? Were they trying to hasten the apocalypse?

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