Reports of the National Center for Science Education
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Volume
28
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No.
4
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Polling Creationism in Canada

Polling Creationism in Canada

Among Canadians, 58% accept evolution, while 22% think that God created
humans in their present form within the last 10 000 years, and 20%
are unsure,according to a new poll from Angus Reid Strategies (available
on-line at http://www.angusreid.com/polls/view/31446/canadians_choose_evolution_over_creationism. The poll was conducted
among a nationwide random sample of 1007 Canadian
adults interviewed on-line on July
29 and 30, 2008, and its margin of
error is +/- 3.1%. The results are virtually
unchanged from a 2007 poll,
in which 59% of the respondents
accepted evolution, 22% accepted
creationism, and 19% were unsure.

A press release (available online at http://www.angusreid.com/uppdf/2008.08.05_Origin.pdf) noted a number of
additional findings: "Men [were] more inclined than women to
believe in evolution (69% versus 48%); women [were] more prone
to believe in creationism (28% versus
16%) ... Males (69%), younger adults (67%) and those with at
least one university degree (71%) [were] more inclined to believe in
evolution ... [and] Albertans (40%) and Conservative Party supporters
(29%) [were] more likely to think humans were created by God."

Comparing these results with
poll results in the United States is
not straightforward, since the question
that the Gallup Organization
has used since 1982 offers two versions
of a pro-evolution response:
"Human beings have developed
over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God
guided this process" and "Human
beings have developed over millions
of years from less advanced
forms of life, but God had no part
in this process." The corresponding
Angus Reid response — "Human
beings evolved from less advanced
life forms over millions of years" — omits any mention of God.

According to a useful summary
(available on-line at http://www.gallup.com/poll/21814/Evolution-Creationism-Intelligent-Design.aspx), in the latest Gallup poll
using the question, conducted in May 2008, 50% of respondents preferred
the pro-evolution responses, with 44% preferring "God created
human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the
last 10 000 years or so," and with only 5% volunteering a different
response or declining to answer. It might seem,then,that Canadians are
not as much supportive of evolution as they are dismissive of creationism,
compared to their American counterparts.

As the political scientist and polling expert George Bishop
observed ("Polls apart on human origins," RNCSE 2007 Sep–Dec; 27
[5–6]: 35–41), however, minor changes in the wording of poll
questions about creationism and
evolution can make a substantial
difference in poll results, so it
would be premature to jump to
any conclusions. Over the years,
RNCSE has carried a variety of
reports and analyses of such polls,
including Otis Dudley Duncan and
Claudia Geist's "The creationists:
How many, who, and where?"
(2004 Sep/Oct; 24 [5]: 26–33).

This version might differ slightly from the print publication.
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