Conservative Republican views
Significantly fewer Republicans believe in evolution than did so four years ago, setting them apart from Democrats and independents, according to a recent . But behind this finding is a puzzle: If the views of the overall public have remained steady, and there has been little change among people of other political affiliations, how does one account for the ? Shouldn’t the marked drop in Republican believers cause a decline in the 60% of all adults who say humans have evolved over time?
The short answer could be that while the percentages of believers in evolution among Democrats and independents may not have changed much, the overall size of those two groups may have increased, offsetting the impact of the Republican shift.
But the findings of the survey also raise other questions: ? Are changes in beliefs occurring broadly among Republicans or are the numbers driven by a subgroup of GOP supporters (such as religious conservatives)? And, although the same questions about evolution were asked in both surveys, could the context in which they were placed have affected the outcome?
Here’s a closer look at these questions:
1How could there be so little change in overall public opinion when there’s been a substantial change in opinion among Republicans?
When overall public opinion is steady despite opinion shifts among one subgroup, logically there must be at least one other subgroup that shifts in the opposite direction and/or the size of the subgroups must be changing. When it comes to party affiliation, there are four categories of respondents that could be shifting: Republicans, Democrats, independents and those who volunteer that their party affiliation is either some other party, no party, or do not give a response.
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