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A new creationism/evolution poll, but few surprises


A poll recently conducted for Newsweek by Princeton Survey Research Associates International contained two questions relevant to the creationism/evolution controversy. The results [Link broken] were broadly consistent with those of previous polls using similar questions. The poll was conducted March 28-29, 2007, with 1004 adults aged 18 and over participating; the margin of error was +/- 4%.

The first question used the traditional Gallup question:

Which one of the following statements come closest to your views about the origin and development of human beings? Humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process (or) Humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process (or) God created humans pretty much in the present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so?
30% of respondents chose the "God guided process" option, 13% chose the "God had no part" option, 48% chose the "created in present form" option, and 9% offered a different or no opinion. These responses are comparable with previous polls using the question, dating back to 1982.

Newsweek recorded the results for evangelical Protestants, non-evangelical Protestants, Catholics, and agnostics/atheists. Fully 73% of evangelical Protestants chose the "created in present form" option, while only 39% of non-evangelical Protestants and 41% of Catholics followed suit. Oddly, 13% of the agnostics/atheists who responded chose the "created in present form" option and 27% chose the "God guided process" option.

The second question asked, "Do you think the scientific theory of evolution is well-supported by evidence and widely accepted within the scientific community?" Forty-eight percent of respondents said that it was well-supported; 39% said that it was not well-supported; 13% didn't know. Among evangelical Protestants, 63% said that it was not well-supported, while 57% of non-evangelical Protestants, 58% of Catholics, and 73% of agnostics/atheists said that it was well-supported.

In 2004, Gallup asked a similar question: "Do you think that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is a scientific theory that has been well-supported by evidence, just one of many theories and one that has not been well-supported by evidence, or don't you know enough about it to say?" Thirty-five percent of the respondents said that evolution is well-supported by evidence, 35% said that it is not, 29% said that they didn't know enough about it to reply, and 1% expressed no opinion.

Over the years, Reports of the NCSE has carried a variety of reports and analyses of such polls, including George Bishop's "'Intelligent Design': Illusions of an Informed Public" (reprinted from Public Perspective), Otis Dudley Duncan and Claudia Geist's "The Creationists: How Many, Who, and Where?", and (forthcoming) George Bishop's "Polls Apart on Human Origins" (reprinted from the on-line publication Public Opinion Professionals).