Pew Research just released a poll on Monday showing the American public’s views towards evolution. The poll showed that 60% of Americans agree with the statement that humans and other living things have evolved over time. Meanwhile, 33% stated that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. This is pretty much on par with the results of this same poll four years ago.
However, where the gaps have started to widen more is when we look at political affiliation and religion. In 2009, 64% of Democrats believed in evolution while a majority, 54%, of Republicans also believed in the theory. Fast forward to today and 67% of Democrats believe in the theory of evolution while only 43% of Republicans feel that humans evolved from lower life forms. That is a remarkable 24-point gap between the two political parties. Independents saw virtually no change, as 67% believed in 2009 and 65% believe now.
Some of this can probably be explained by religious views. The vast majority of white Evangelicals (64%) do not believe in evolution. This group makes up a large base on the current Republican Party. However, while a large percentage of black Evangelicals (50%) do not believe in evolution, a much larger percentage (44%) do believe in the theory over white Evangelicals (27%.) Non-religious or unaffiliated people by a wide margin (76-20) believe in evolution.
Two other factors that seemed to play in how people view evolution were age and education. Only 51% of those with a high-school education or less believe in evolution. That percentage moved up to 62% for people with some college education. 72% of people with at least a college degree said that they believe humans have changed over time. Only 49% of people over 65 said they believe in evolution. The percentages got higher as the respondents got younger. For 18-29 year-olds, 68% said they believe in the theory.
The thing is, these numbers are all pretty much in line with the 2009 poll other than the differences between the two parties. Perhaps what this poll is telling us is that the Republican Party is becoming more and more centered around older, white Evangelicals. Essentially, the GOP is devolving into a religious group. The more educated members of the party are jumping ship, while the uneducated and the ones who cling hard to their Bibles are making up more and more of the ‘base.’
Sure, Bobby Jindal, Reince Priebus and others may not want the GOP to be the Stupid Party. However, as its made up of more and more people who wholly reject science, they may not have a choice but to accept that reality. Especially when you have elected officials out there saying that evolution is nothing but ‘lies straight from the pit of hell.’