The latest Gallup poll on evolution

There were no surprises in the latest Gallup poll on public opinion about evolution in the United States. Asked in May 2014 "[w]hich of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings," 31% of the respondents accepted "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process," 19% accepted "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process," and 42% accepted "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so." 

The same question has been used by Gallup to poll about evolution since 1982. According to Gallup, "The percentage of the U.S. population choosing the creationist perspective as closest to their own view has fluctuated in a narrow range between 40% and 47% since the question's inception. There is little indication of a sustained downward trend in the proportion of the U.S. population who hold a creationist view of human origins. At the same time, the percentage of Americans who adhere to a strict secularist viewpoint — that humans evolved over time, with God having no part in this process — has doubled since 1999." As usual, acceptance of the creationist option was associated with a lower degree of education, a higher rate of church attendance, and age.

Gallup also asked, "How familiar would you say you are with each of the following explanations about the origin and development of life on earth?" For evolution, 42% of respondents were very familiar, 37% were somewhat familiar, 13% were not too familiar, 6% were not at all familiar, and 1% had no opinion, while for creationism, 38% were very familiar, 38% were somewhat familiar, 13% were not too familiar, 7% were not at all familiar, and 4% had no opinion. In 2007, when the same question was asked, the results for evolution were about the same, but 50% of respondents were very familiar with creationism. Gallup concludes, "In short, even though the adherence to the creationist view has not changed over time, familiarity with the term 'creationism' has diminished."

There was a strong relation between familiarity with evolution and acceptance of evolution: while 57% of respondents who were not too familiar or not at all familiar with evolution preferred the creationist option among the views on the origin and development of human beings, only 43% of those who were somewhat familiar and only 33% of those who were very familiar did so. Gallup observes, however, that "[t]hese relationships do not necessarily prove that if Americans were to learn more about evolution they would be more likely to believe in it. Those with less education are most likely to espouse the creationist view and to be least familiar with evolution, but it's not clear that gaining more education per se would shift their perspectives."

According to Gallup, the poll results are "based on telephone interviews conducted May 8-11, 2014, with a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia"; the samples were weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status. The maximum range of sampling error for the total sample was +/- 4%. Conveniently, Gallup provides a graph showing the results from its polls using the same question since 1982. A collection of material — including NCSE's coverage, articles from RNCSE, and links — relevant to polls and surveys concerning the creationism/evolution controversy is available on the NCSE website.