According to a new poll released today, a super-majority of Americans oppose the decision of United Methodist Church (UMC) officials to ban the pro-intelligent design Discovery Institute from sponsoring an information table at the UMC’s upcoming General Conference in May. An even greater majority believes that the UMC’s ban contradicts its stated commitment to “open hearts, open minds, open doors.”
Intelligent design is the idea that life and the universe show evidence of being the result of purposeful design rather than unguided processes.
More than 70 percent of the 1,946 respondents to the nationwide survey agreed that “the United Methodist Church should not have banned an intelligent design group from renting an information table at its conference.” More than 78 percent of respondents agreed that “the United Methodist Church’s ban on the intelligent design group seems inconsistent with the Church’s stated commitment to encourage ‘open hearts, open minds, open doors.'” Download the full report here.
“United Methodist officials who want to prevent discussion about intelligent design in their denomination are not only out of step with their own membership; they are out of step with most Americans,” said Dr. John West, Vice President of Discovery Institute. The Institute is urging those who oppose the United Methodist Church ban to make their views known, and it has published a web page to make it easy for people to contact United Methodist officials.
Opposition to the UMC’s ban on intelligent design cuts across party, age, income, and region. Seventy-seven percent of Republicans oppose the UMC action, but so do 70 percent of Independents and nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Democrats. Seventy percent of both men and women oppose the decision, and so do more than two-thirds of every age group, with the highest level of opposition by age coming from 18-29 year-olds, 74 percent of whom oppose the UMC action.
The poll was conducted by Discovery Institute using SurveyMonkey Audience, which randomly sampled the adult members of its nationally representative panel of more than 6 million U.S. residents. Survey responses were collected from January 5-9, 2016. SurveyMonkey Audience panelists are recruited from the 30+ million people who take SurveyMonkey surveys each month.
Widely respected, the SurveyMonkey platform has been utilized for public opinion surveys by NBC News, the Los Angeles Times, and other media organizations. According to SurveyMonkey:
SurveyMonkey Audience respondents represent a diverse group of people and are reflective of the general population. However, as with most online sampling, respondents have Internet access and voluntarily joined a program to take surveys… We automatically balance results according to census data for age and gender, while location tends to balance out naturally.
SurveyMonkey conducts “regular benchmarking surveys to ensure our members are representative of the U.S. population.” More information on how respondents are recruited for SurveyMonkey Audience.
Image credit: © highwaystarz / Dollar Photo Club.