Bill O'Reilly Downplays 46 Million Birthers

On his Fox News show tonight, Bill O'Reilly said he doesn't believe poll results showing that 51 percent of Republican primary voters believe Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

O'Reilly offered a “better poll” - one conducted by CBS News that samples U.S. adults rather than just Republican primary voters. And he explained that this poll shows “58 percent of Americans believe the president was born in America. Just 20 percent say he was born in another country. The rest don't seem to care.”

O'Reilly has criticized media and polling outlets for covering birthers, suggesting tonight that it's part of an effort to “marginalize Republican opposition in 2012 by painting them as nuts.” Appearing on O'Reilly's show Karl Rove claimed, “This is the White House strategy. They love this.”

There's a couple things wrong with this. First, “I don't care” wasn't an option on the CBS poll. Rather, 22 percent responded “I don't know” - which means they think it's possible that Obama is not a natural-born citizen.

But even if you set aside the “Don't know” crowd, you still have 20 percent who say Obama was born in another country, or in O'Reilly's words, “Just 20 percent.” Just?

The 2009 Census estimate says there are 232.4 million adults in America, so that's more than 46 million Americans who believe Obama isn't eligible for the presidency. For comparison, Obama beat McCain by less than 9 million votes. But yeah, he's clearly got them right where he wants them.