Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Harris Poll on Evolution

Reader Michael correctly points out in answer to my post on Canadians' acceptance of evolution that, here in the US, there is a correlation between the acceptance of evolution and education. A Harris poll in 2005 lays this out pretty clearly. Of particular interest are Tables 7 and 8, in which the answers to questions about human evolution are broken down into political party affiliation and level of education. Here are some of the points concluded by the Harris organization:

  • In general, older adults (those 55 years of age and older), adults without a college degree, Republicans, conservatives, and Southerners are more likely to embrace the creationism positions in the questions asked.
  • Those with a college education, Democrats, independents, liberals, adults aged 18 to 54 and those from the Northeast and West support the belief in evolution in larger numbers. However, among these groups, majorities believe in creationism.
  • Despite the significant numbers who believe in creationism, pluralities among the demographic subgroups examined still believe all three concepts (evolution, creationism, and intelligent design) should be taught in public schools.
In addition to these, though, there are a few striking things about the poll. Democrats accept that humans and apes have a common ancestry at numbers twice those of Republicans (60 to 31%), and the belief in creationism (not defined here) is as high as 73% (among those an education of high school or less). The Republicans have almost made acceptance of some form of creationism or ID part of the platform, and much of the Republican platform is also populist in nature. The two seem to be dovetailing nicely here.

1 comment:

  1. Meh, I buy the education link to acceptance of evolution, but the others may be confounds. The various factors aren't held constant in a regression, we're just told X% who were Republican agreed, Y% who were Southerners agreed, etc.

    But living in the South is highly correlated with lower education (on average) and being a Republican. So there's a very possible confound there. I suspect others exist as well.

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