Buzz on the Net

A University of Texas poll of 550 registered voters has one surprising finding: 23 percent of Texans are convinced that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is a Muslim. Obama is a Christian. Yet just 45 percent of those polled identified the Illinois senator as a Protestant. The Obama-is-a-Muslim confusion is caused by fallacious Internet rumors and radio talk-show gossip. John McCain went so far at one of his town hall meetings to grab a microphone from a woman who claimed that Obama was an Arab.

Media coverage of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin has been overwhelmingly negative according to a new study by the Culture and Media Institute, a conservative media watchdog group. A survey of stories shown on NBC, CBS and ABC between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12 showed that negative stories about Palin were shown over positive stories at a rate of 18-1. Of the 69 stories about the Alaska governor shown during the stretch, 37 were deemed negative, 30 neutral and 2 positive.

Gay couples in California – worried about passage of a proposition to ban gay marriages – are filling up county clerks' schedules with marriage ceremonies to say “I do” before voters get a chance to say they can't. Recent polls show that voters are evenly divided over Proposition 8, the ballot measure, which is one of the most closely watched races in the country. One clerk's office reported twice the normal business.

Barack Obama's 30-minute primetime infomercial was seen by 33.6 million viewers across seven networks including CBS, NBC, Fox, Univision, MSNBC, BET and TV One. That's 70 percent more people than watched the conclusion of the World Series on Fox (19.8 million). Clearly, Obama vs. McCain is more compelling to viewers this week than Phillies vs. Rays. Nielsen estimates that roughly 71 percent of viewers were white, 17 percent of viewers were black and 15 percent were Hispanic.