Republicans more likely to be wrong about Universe, but not by much

Republicans more likely to be wrong about Universe, but not by much

Republicans more likely to be wrong about Universe, but not by much

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
June 25 2008 4:00 PM

Republicans more likely to be wrong about Universe, but not by much

So a new Gallup poll was released saying that 60% -- sixty percent -- of Republicans polled believe humans were created as is 10,000 years ago.

But before you Dems get all smug about this, note that 38% of you guys think the same thing.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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So Republicans as a whole are more likely to be wrong, but Dems show a strong lack of reality grasping themselves. Independents are at the 40% mark, within the margin of error of Dems.

So, yikes. YIKES.

Here's the graph in question:


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Looking through the poll results is eye-opening. 92% of Republicans think that either God created Man as is or guided evolution. Democrats and independents are at 77% and 76%, respectively.

God played no part? Republicans: 4%. Dems: 17%. Indies: 19%.

I'm not sure how to interpret this. Maybe that claiming allegiance or affiliation with a political party makes it likely you will withdraw from reality to toe the party line. Maybe it's the other way around.

But one thing is interesting: these numbers haven't changed much at all in the past 26 years Gallup has been asking these questions. So it wasn't Newt's takeover of Congress, or Bush stomping science to death, or the Dems rolling over on their backs whenever a contentious issue reared its head, or anything else like that. People's beliefs have correlated with their party affiliation like this for decades. And there aren't any sharp fluctuations, either, so despite the current polarization of politics, these beliefs that the Earth is young and/or that God guided evolution are rock steady. This, despite the very radical changes in the parties since 1982.

This is very thought-provoking, and I'm wondering what it means. The key thing here, I suspect, is that lack of change in belief versus party affiliation despite the changes in the party. I think it may mean that people stick with a political party even though it may evolve -- ha! -- substantially over time. I'm not sure a Dem or Repub from 1982 would recognize either party these days. In many cases their policies have switched entirely.

What a mess.

Welcome to America. We have a long, long way to go.