FoxNews reports the results of an intriguing poll of Americans' views on the supernatural. What's really fascinating are the demographic belief gaps -- they reveal a lot about how some different groups think.
The national poll, conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation (search), shows that about a third of Americans believe in ghosts (34 percent) and an equal number in UFOs (34 percent), and about a quarter accept things like astrology (search) (29 percent), reincarnation (search) (25 percent) and witches (24 percent).Is this cultural, or biological?
There is a gender gap on many of these subjects. Women are more likely than men to believe in almost all topics asked about in the poll, including 12 percentage points more likely to believe in miracles and eight points more likely to trust there is a heaven. The one significant exception is UFOs, with 39 percent of men compared to 30 percent of women saying they accept the existence of unidentified flying objects.
The generation gaps are even more interesting:
Young people are much more likely than older Americans to believe in both hell and the devil. An 86 percent majority of adults between the ages of 18 to 34 believe in hell, but that drops to 68 percent for those over age 70. Similarly, 79 percent of young people believe in the devil compared to 67 percent of the over-70 age group.I suppose if I were that close to finding out the truth, I might prefer to hold certain beliefs over others. Will these young adults change their minds as they get older, or does this difference represent a significant sea-change that could have a profound effect on our nation over the coming decades?
Now then, how about an ideological gap?
Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they believe in God (by eight percentage points), in heaven (by 10 points), in hell (by 15 points), and considerably more likely to believe in the devil (by 17 points). Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they believe in reincarnation (by 14 percentage points), in astrology (by 14 points), in ghosts (by eight points) and UFOs (by five points).Each side can snicker at the gullibility of the other.
The report has more information and some more questions, so you might be interested in reading the whole thing.