52% of GOP reject evolution; 36% reject creationism

More Americans today believe that human beings developed without any involvement of a higher power, according to a new poll.

Gallup reported that since 1982, the number of Americans believing that humans evolved over millions of years increased by seven percentage points.

The current figure - 16 percent - has trended upwards since 2000.

Since 1982, Americans who believe that humans evolved with God guiding the process haven't changed (38 percent), while Americans who believe God created humans in present form has decreased four points to 40 percent.

"These views have been generally stable over the last 28 years," the report said. "Acceptance of the creationist viewpoint has decreased slightly over time, with a concomitant rise in acceptance of a secular evolution perspective."

It continued, "But these shifts have not been large, and the basic structure of beliefs about human beings' origins is generally the same as it was in the early 1980s."

Gallup reported that education and religiosity levels affect one's views of the origins of human life. Those who have a "creationist view" tend to be less educated; however, those with more education are more likely to believe "one of the two viewpoints involving evolution," the report said.

More Republicans (52 percent) than Democrats (34 percent) and Independents (34 percent) tend to hold a creationist view, the report noted. More Democrats (40 percent) and Independents (39 percent) than Republicans (36 percent) hold an evolutionist view.

"Americans' attitudes about almost anything can and often do have political consequences," the report said. "Views on the origins of humans are no exception. Debates and clashes over which explanations for human origins should be included in school textbooks have persisted for decades."

The report concluded that based on its historical data, debates among creationists and evolutionists over the origins of human kind would likely continue.

Results for the poll are from telephone interviews made Dec. 10-12, 2010, with a random sample of 1,019 adults, aged 18 and older, living within the continental United States.