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Evolution in a new Harris poll

A recent Harris poll addressed evolution and creationism, with unsurprising results. Those surveyed were given a list of topics — including God, miracles, heaven, Jesus as God or the son of God, angels, survival of the soul after death, the resurrection of Jesus, Hell, the virgin birth, the Devil, "Darwin's theory of evolution," ghosts, creationism, UFOs, astrology, witches, and reincarnation — and asked, "Please indicate for each one if you believe in it, or not." For evolution, 47% of respondents indicated that they believed in it, 29% indicated that they don't believe in it, and 25% indicated that they were not sure. For creationism, 36% of respondents indicated that they believed in it, 31% indicated that they don't believe in it, and 33% indicated that they were not sure.

The results varied dramatically by political affiliation: 36% of Republicans, 52% of Democrats, and 51% of independents indicated that they believed in "Darwin's theory of evolution," while 49% of Republicans, 30% of Democrats, and 34% of independents indicated that they believed in creationism. But the results varied only slightly by generation: 49% of Echo Boomers (18-36), 48% of Gen Xers (37-48), 45% of Baby Boomers (49-67), and 43% of Matures (68+) indicated that they believed in "Darwin's theory of evolution," while 33% of Echo Boomers, 35% of Gen Xers, 38% of Baby Boomers, and 37% of Matures indicated that they believed in creationism. Although in past polling reports, Harris discussed how the results varied by religious affiliation, no such data were provided in 2013.

According to Harris's longitudinal results, since 2005, believers in "Darwin's theory of evolution" gained 5% and believers in creationism lost 3% — probably not a significant change. Harris's report explains that the poll "was conducted online within the United States November 13 and 18, 2013 among 2,250 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online." "Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel," the report added, "no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated."