"There are sizable differences among partisan groups in beliefs about evolution. Republicans are less inclined than either Democrats or political independents to say that humans have evolved over time. Roughly two-thirds of Democrats (67%) and independents (65%) say that humans have evolved over time, compared with less than half of Republicans (43%).
"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."
The below PEW chart shows who are the culprits in this move backwards:
White and black evangelical protestants contribute so much to the cause of Creationism that it is hard to separate them. The groups populate the entirety of Southern Baptist Convention (16 million) as well as all other Fundamentalist Christian denominations (e.g., Assemblies of God). They are also the most vocal in (conservative) politics and have recently challenged the separation of church and state so as to openly preach politics from the pulpit.*
It is ironic that while Republicans claim a rise in Creationist beliefs, their support from the Christian Right has waned in regard to other issues like marriage equality: they have found out that when pandering to the Christian Right, you must hold strong on ALL its beliefs ... or else. They have also found out that the problems of teaching Creationism must be tackled at the local and state level first, since America's diversity counterbalances Fundamentalism: America may indeed be a Christian-majority nation, but it is fast becoming a nation of "no particular affiliation."
"An alarming study by the Barna group looked at the mass exodus of 20-somethings from evangelicalism and discovered that one of the major sources of discontent was the perception that “Christianity was antagonistic to science.” Anti-evolution, and general suspicion of science, has become such a significant part of the evangelical identity that many people feel compelled to choose one or the other. Many of my most talented former students no longer attend any church, and some have completely abandoned their faith traditions.
Whither go the youth, so go conservatives and the Republican Party. William F. Buckley would not be amused.
The Turn-Off Point
When the Republican Party will become tired of being a pawn of the Christian Right and capitalism remains to be seen: indeed, it may never recuperate from the devolution (and never get tired of capitalism). Some pundits think that it has already reached the turn-off point with its growing (but grudging) acceptance of gay rights. This, however, is an illusion: Christian Right hold-outs like North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas will uphold the banning of same-sex marriage and the right to proselytize with Creationism (as a kind of science) until their cows come home.
They continue into the darkness willingly. Will they ever be seen again ... as intelligent homo sapiens?
*Although Catholic priests and bishops have been vocal, the emergence of Francis' doctrine of reaching out to the poor and not to politicians will definitely have its effect.