Evolution in a new Suffolk University/USA Today poll

Student measuring a hominid skull.

A recent Suffolk University/USA Today poll investigated U.S. public opinion about human evolution. Asked "What comes closest to your belief about humans and evolution?" 29% of respondents preferred "Humans evolved into their present form without divine intervention," 24% preferred "Humans evolved into their present form, but God directed the process," and 37% preferred "Humans did not evolve. They were created in their present form by God," while 8% were undecided and 2% refused to answer.

More likely to prefer the creationist option were women (40% compared to 34% of men), respondents in the South and Midwest (41% and 39% compared to 33% and 31% of respondents in the West and Northeast), Republicans (53% compared to 33% of Independents and 23% of Democrats), Black people (55% compared to 36% of Hispanic people and 35% of white people), and those with at most high school education (46% compared to 36% of those with some college, 36% of college graduates, and 23% of those with advanced degrees).

Philip Bump, a columnist for the Washington Post (October 31, 2023), observed, "Perhaps the most striking comparison is education. Creationism is embraced by twice as many people with no more than a high school degree than those with a master's or other advanced degree — but they report going to church weekly at relatively equal rates," adding, "It's ... difficult from this poll to disentangle the causality between education, belief in the principle of evolution and partisan identity."

"This survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted between October 17 and October 20, 2023, and is based on live telephone interviews of adults 18 years of age or older, residing in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Quota and demographic information — including region, race, and age — were determined from 2020 national census data," according to the poll report. "Surveys were administered in English and Spanish. The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is +/-3.1 percentage points."

Glenn Branch
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Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.