Gallup: Majority of Republicans doubt evolution; More Americans believe in creationism
A majority of Republicans have doubts about evolution, and more Americans believe in the creationism theory, according to a new Gallup poll.
This "suggests that when three Republican presidential candidates at a May debate stated they did not believe in evolution, they were generally in sync with the bulk of the rank-and-file Republicans whose nomination they are seeking to obtain," Frank Newport writes for Gallup News Service.
"Independents and Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe in the theory of evolution," Newport adds. "But even among non-Republicans there appears to be a significant minority who doubt that evolution adequately explains where humans came from."
Asked whether human life is a result of God's creation or evolution over millions of years, a majority of Americans said both are probable explanations.
Overall, more Americans expressed a strong belief in creationism, or the theory that God created humans in their present form at a single period in time within the last 10,000 years.
A full 66 percent said they believed in creationism, with 39 percent of those polled saying it was definitely true and 27 percent believing it was probably true.
But 53 percent said they believed in evolution, the scientific theory that humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. Eighteen percent said evolution was definitely true, while 35 percent said it was probably true.
The results were released in a USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,007 adults, taken between June 1-3. The margin of error was three percent.
The polarizing issue of how life came to be has worked its way into US classrooms in recent years, where some states have enacted legislation that says teachers must include critical analysis of Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory.
Excerpts from Gallup article:
As noted previously, belief in evolution has been injected into the political debate already this year, with much attention given to the fact three Republican presidential candidates answered a debate question by saying that they did not believe in evolution.
It appears that these candidates are, in some ways, "preaching to the choir" in terms of addressing their own party's constituents -- the group that matters when it comes to the GOP primaries. Republicans are much more likely to be religious and attend church than independents or Democrats in general. Therefore, it comes as no great surprise to find that Republicans are also significantly more likely not to believe in evolution than are independents and Democrats.
The data in this analysis were measured in the context of questions about the origin and development of human beings. It is apparent that many Americans simply do not like the idea that humans evolved from lower forms of life. This appears to be substantially based on a belief in the story of creation as outlined in the Bible -- that God created humans in a process that, taking the Bible literally, occurred about 10,000 years ago.
Americans who say they do not believe in the theory of evolution are highly likely to justify this belief by reference to religion, Jesus Christ, or the Bible. Furthermore, there is a strong correlation between high levels of personal religiosity and doubts about evolution.
Being religious in America today is strongly related to partisanship, with more religious Americans in general much more likely to be Republicans than to be independents or Democrats. This relationship helps explain the finding that Republicans are significantly more likely than independents or Democrats to say they do not believe in evolution. When three Republican presidential candidates said in a May debate that they did not believe in evolution, the current analysis suggests that many Republicans across the country no doubt agreed.
FULL GALLUP ARTICLE CAN BE READ AT THIS LINK
(with wire reports)