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Are Republicans Evolving On Evolution?

By The Reverend Published: December 31, 2013

In 2009, 54 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of Democrats said humans have evolved over time, a difference of 10 percentage points. Today, 43 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats say humans have evolved, a 24-point gap.

Roughly two-thirds of Democrats (67%) and independents (65%) say that humans have evolved over time, compared with less than half of Republicans (43%).

Those numbers, gathered in March-April of this year, beggar a few questions.

What explains a 9% shift in Republican acceptance of just the last four years? Has something huge been revealed in the last four years which would cause Republican voters to reject evolution by a larger margin? As sincerely as I can express myself.....I don't get it.

A broader question might be: Will Republican voters continue to reject evolution by wider margins moving forward? And if so, why?

Can a 9% increase among Republicans who reject evolution be explained by an increasingly anti-science viewpoint among Republicans over such things as global climate change or a human being "choosing" to be gay?

Or, can some of the increase in disbelief of evolution among Republicans be explained by our widening national political polarization? If Democrats, liberals, accept evolution broadly....then Republicans must be against evolution. Is that it?

A few bloggers have been suggesting that Republicans are "stupider" now than they were four years ago....and THAT explains the 9% increase among Republicans in opposition to evolution. I don't think I buy that explanation. The presidency of Obama has driven many Republican voters crazy, sure....but dumber too? Not so sure about that.

I think this increase among Republicans in opposition to just the last four years....just might be a backlash created by fear. Fear of change. Change witnessed in recent efforts towards marriage equality, change witnessed in our nation's first black family occupying the White House, change in national demographics that favor the Democratic Party, much change that large numbers of Republicans have told us it is time for them to "take their country back."

Is rejecting evolution by wider margins a Republican response to fear of change?
Clinging, or reverting, to the 'old ways' might be a source of consolation in a time of change.

I have a few ideas but I admit I don't understand why just in four years 9% more Republicans reject evolution. Got any ideas on this last day of 2013? I'd really like to hear them.



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