Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Illustration for article titled people with less educational status are now ... Republican

Pew Research recently released 2013 polling data about American attitudes about evolution. You might have seen it on the frontpage.


First, some quotes

You might not have heard some fantastic soundbites from a Republican strategist who maybe should look for a new job.

Vin Weber, a former Minnesota Republican congressman and now a Washington-based GOP strategist, says he would "resist characterizing this as evidence of a war on science, which I think is BS."
Well. We'll get to that later. But please continue.


"I suspect this is a reflection of a trend we've seen, where the most educated people who used to be Republicans are now Democrats, and people with less educational status are now moving into the Republican Party," Weber says.
Vin Weber, former Republican congressman, long-standing member of a D.C. lobbying firm, and adviser for the Romney 2008 and 2012 campaigns, thinks that Republican voters are trending towards being less educated. I... I have nothing to add to that. But I will get back to the war on science comment.

The Republican (Voters) War on Science

According to the 2013 polling results, 43% of Republicans accept that "humans and other living things have evolved over time". Since the poll has a margin of error of 3%, the only age, religious, or educational groups that accept evolution less than Republicans are white evangelical Protestants and black Protestants. This 43% seemed like a low number, particularly because a 2009 poll resulted in 54% of Republicans accepting scientific fact.

This gave Vin Weber an attempt to explain why Republicans doubt evolution in a 2013 poll more than they did in a 2009 poll:
"Added to that is a realignment along religious lines, with the most religious lining up with the GOP," he said.
Sounds reasonable. But, according to Pew,
the surveys suggest that the change in views on evolution occurred especially among the less religious segments of the GOP. Among Republicans who attend worship services monthly or less often, the share who say humans have evolved over time is down 14 percentage points, from 71% in 2009 to 57% today. Among Republicans who attend services at least weekly the share who believe in evolution has gone from 36% in 2009 to 31% today, a difference that is not statistically significant.


So Republican voters who are more or less secular are the ones who are increasingly dismissive about evolution. Honestly, from having interacted with people on io9, this doesn't surprise me: there is a concerning trend among fiscal conservatives/libertarians to think that science is something that they have an ideological need to disagree with.

Polling from this year also shows that only 23% of Republicans can correctly state that global warming has solid evidence and is primarily because of human activity, which is higher than the polling values found in 2009 (16%) but lower than in 2006 (31%). And only 41% agree that scientists generally agree that anthropogenic global warming is a thing.

These are concerning things for a political party which currently controls federal science funding in the second largest economy on the planet, and which may continue to do so until 2017.

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