The Pew Charitable Trust, an organization which "informs the public on key issues and trends, as a highly credible source of independent, non-partisan research and polling information" has released their latest report on public opinion on the issues. Here are some interesting snippets:
Religion and Politics:
Both the Democratic and Republican Parties receive considerable criticism for being too beholden to ideological constituencies within the parties. Just as many believe that non-religious liberals have too much control over the Democratic Party (44%) as believe religious conservatives have too much control over the Republican Party (45%).
Only about three-in-ten (29%) see the Democrats as friendly toward religion, down from 40% last August. Meanwhile, a solid majority (55%) continues to view the Republicans as friendly toward religion.
There is an even more widespread perception held by two-in-three Americans that liberals are going too far in trying to keep religion out of schools and the government….Overall, 56% of Democrats say liberals have gone too far in trying to keep religion out of schools and government, and moderate-to-conservative Democrats are twice as likely as liberal Democrats to express this view (67% vs. 33%, respectively).
Overall, about half the public (48%) says that humans and other living things have evolved over time, while 42% say that living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. Fully 70% of white evangelical Protestants say that life has existed in its present form since the beginning of time; fewer than half as many white mainline Protestants (32%) and white Catholics (31%) agree.
Despite these fundamental differences, most Americans (64%) say they are open to the idea of teaching creationism along with evolution in the public schools, and a substantial minority (38%) favors replacing evolution with creationism in public school curricula. While much of this support comes from religious conservatives, these ideas particularly the idea of teaching both perspectives have a broader appeal. Even many who are politically liberal and who believe in evolution favor expanding the scope of public school education to include teaching creationism.