Pew’s latest shitpoll on the dumbing down of the Republican Party is getting all kinds of press and reaction from the scientific community. Given that the Pew studies are barely managing 10% response rates, if that, I ignored it until I had time to see if this was actually true—though it seemed plausible and I’ll show you why. Above you can see the trends in the belief that “humans developed from animals” in the General Social Survey. They first asked this in 2006, but they have continued to do so. I present the overall trend, and the trend by Republican identification (or not) and by beliefs about the Bible. Overall, in the last six years for which we have scientifically reliable data, the understanding that humans evolved from other animals has increased from about 50% to 55%. However, for Americans who identify with the Republican Party there has been a decrease–from 42% to 37%—all of that coming between 2010 (when 44% of Republicans got the correct answer) and 2012. In contrast, people who aren’t Republicans improved from 54% to 64%. What is really weird is that even fundamentalists who believe the bible is the word of god increased from 19% to 30%! But, we should note that is an extremely low value relative to the rest of the country. “Inspired by god” believers in the Bible are twice as likely to believe in human evolution—while people who think the bible is a book of fables written by ancient goatfuckers have been stable with around 88% believing in evolution. So what’s wrong with Republicans?
Above you can see what happened, particularly between 2010 and 2012 when Republican support for evolution dropped by 7%, the proportion of Republicans who are fundamentalists increased by 2.2% and the proportion of Republicans who hold secular beliefs in the Bible declined by 2% (from 12.3% to 10%). So, they traded 2.2% at 30% support for 2% at 87% support. Notably, this was also during a time when the overall percentage reporting Republican identification dropped by 2%. Secular people left the Republicans, leaving the base even more squarely fundamentalist.