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Polling evolution in three countries

A new poll indicates that public acceptance of evolution is significantly higher in Great Britain and Canada than in the United States. The poll, conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, asked (PDF), "Which of these statements comes closest to your own point of view regarding the origin and development of human beings on earth?" and offered the choices "Human beings evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years" and "God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years."

In the United States, there was no statement commanding the assent of the majority of respondents: 35% of respondents preferred the evolution statement and 47% preferred the creationism statement, with 18% unsure. In Canada and Great Britain, however, evolution was the majority view. In Canada, 61% of respondents preferred the evolution statement and 24% preferred the creationism statement, with 15% unsure. In Great Britain, 68% of respondents preferred the evolution statement, and 16% preferred the creationism statement, with 15% unsure.

The results were also presented by region. Acceptance of evolution in the United States was lowest in the South (27%, as opposed to 51% accepting creationism) and highest in the Northeast (43%, as opposed to 38% accepting creationism). In Canada, acceptance of creationism was highest in Manitoba/Saskatchewan (39%, as opposed to 50% accepting evolution) and Alberta (31%, as opposed to 51% accepting evolution). In Great Britain, acceptance of creationism was highest in London (25%, as opposed to 58% accepting evolution).

The choices offered by Angus Reid are similar, but not identical, to Gallup's, which offers two versions of the evolution statement, specifying "God guided this process" and "God had no part in this process." In 2008, 36% of Gallup's respondents preferred the "God guided" statement and 14% preferred the "God had no part" statement, for a total of 50% accepting evolution, as opposed to 44% accepting the creationist statement. Gallup's results are more or less consistent from 1982 to 2008.

The Angus Reid poll was conducted on-line between July 1 and July 9, 2010, among 1009 Canadian adults, 1002 American adults, and 2011 British adults. The margin of error is +/- 3.1% for Canada and the United States and +/- 2.2% for Great Britain. Angus Reid explains, "The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Canada, the US and Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding."