Reporting from Washington— After years of battling false claims and viral emails alleging that he is a Muslim, President Obama hasn’t gotten far among Republican voters in Alabama and Mississippi – about half still believe he is Muslim and about 1 in 4 believes his parents’ interracial marriage should have been illegal, a new poll shows.

The automated survey by Public Policy Polling, conducted over the weekend in advance of Tuesday’s GOP primaries in both states, showed Republicans Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich locked in a three-way battle for votes.

But in an indication of where the two states fall on the political spectrum, the polls also found continued skepticism among Republicans about Obama’s religion and that a substantial number of GOP voters continue to believe interracial marriage should be illegal.

The poll of Mississippi Republicans found that 52% said they believed Obama is a Muslim, 36% weren’t sure and only 12% said they believed he is a Christian. He fared slightly better in Alabama, where 45% said he is a Muslim, 41% weren’t sure, and 14% said he is a Christian.

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