Fewer than half of Republicans (43%) believe in evolution, according to a new PEW poll.
Around two-thirds of Democrats (67%) and Independents (65%) believe in evolution, according to the same poll.
Overall, PEW found that 60% of Americans believe that “humans and other living things have evolved over time,” while 33% believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”
The numbers, of course, break down along partisan lines.
What’s odd is that Republicans have actually devolved on evolution in the past several years, with growing numbers of Republicans rejecting the theory. From PEW:
The size of the gap between partisan groups has grown since 2009. Republicans are less inclined today than they were in 2009 to say that humans have evolved over time (43% today vs. 54% in 2009), while opinion among both Democrats and independents has remained about the same.
PEW also found, not surprisingly, that younger people were more likely than older people to believe in evolution. And people with more education were also more likely to believe in evolution.
Interestingly, men were more likely than women to believe ion evolution, by about ten points.
Of course, it’s an interesting question as to whether Republicans have become more anti-evolution over the past five years, or whether pro-evolution Republicans have left the party and become Democrats and Independents. The GOP has been on an anti-evolution craze for a while now – claiming that the earth is only 6,000 years old, and that dinosaurs lived alongside man – with much of the fervor being centered in southern or rural states like Texas or Kansas.
But even GOP “moderate” presidential hopeful Chris Christie got tongue-tied a few years back on the whole evolution question. Sadly for Christie, what’s crazy in America at large is downright mainstream in today’s Republican party. And in order to win the GOP primary, you have to coddle the crazy. Which makes it a lot harder to win the general election, as Mitt Romney, John McCain and a growing number of Republicans are finding out.