Less than half of U.S. Republicans now believe in evolution

US Republicans are a conservative party, but even just two decades ago they were pro-science, generously funding many of the nation's greatest science programs like NASA. But not anymore. Now, a new Pew survey shows that only 43% of Republicans believe in evolution.

According to Pew Research, we're at a tipping point — belief in evolution among Republicans fell dramatically since 2009:

The size of the gap between partisan groups has grown since 2009. Republicans are less inclined today than they were in 2009 to say that humans have evolved over time (43% today vs. 54% in 2009), while opinion among both Democrats and independents has remained about the same.

Differences in the racial and ethnic composition of Democrats and Republicans or differences in their levels of religious commitment do not wholly explain partisan differences in beliefs about evolution. Indeed, the partisan differences remain even when taking these other characteristics into account.

It may, however, be possible that people who believe in evolution may have stopped identifying as Republicans as the party has become more closely aligned with religious interests.

Less than half of U.S. Republicans now believe in evolutionS

Here, you can see these beliefs broken down by religious affiliation. The most conservative groups by far are white evangelical churches, followed by black protestant churches. The vast majority of white evangelicals believe that humans have always existed in their present form, and never evolved.

But this anti-science bent to the Republican party may be generational. In the same survey, Pew researchers found that people under 30 are not being swept up into the anti-science trend among conservatives.

Less than half of U.S. Republicans now believe in evolutionS

People under 30 from every party and background are more likely to believe in a scientific version of evolution.

Read more at Pew Research