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(RNN) - After seven years in the national spotlight as a U.S. Senator and President of the United States, Barack Obama is still battling public confusion about his religion.
According to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center, only 49 percent of American voters identified Obama as Christian and 31 percent were unaware of his religious beliefs.
Seventeen percent misidentified Obama as Muslim.
Obama identifies himself as Christian.
A similar poll conducted almost four years ago revealed 55 percent of registered voters said Obama was a Christian while 12 percent thought he was Muslim.
According to the study, the surge in the number of voters who believe Obama is Muslim can be attributed mostly to Republicans.
In 2008, 16 percent of registered Republicans recognized Obama as Muslim. Almost four years later, that number jumped to 30 percent.
A significant increase in the number of independent voters also came to identify Obama as Muslim.
The new study also looked at how comfortable Americans are with both Romney's and Obama's religion.
About 19 percent of all voters said they were uncomfortable with the President's faith - the study indicated that two-thirds of those who think Obama is a Muslim were uncomfortable with his religion.
Asked about presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's faith, 60 percent of voters correctly identified him as a Mormon. About 13 percent said they were uncomfortable with Romney's faith.
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