Friday, July 22, 2011

Evaluating God

While many polls have asked what Americans’ beliefs are about God, there has been little measurement of voters’ evaluation of its performance. It turns out, if God exists, voters would give God a strong 52-9 approval rating. This is hardly a surprise considering the vast majority of the country believes in an infallible deity, but some of the crosstabs are quite interesting.

There is a considerable age divide on God’s approval with those 18-29 approving 67-18 compared to a 40-6 approval rating among those over 65. What jumps out from this divide is not just that young voters are more likely to be critical of the job performance of the omnipotent figure, but that they are considerably more likely to voice their opinion. Only 15% of those 18-29 said they were unsure whether they approved of God, while 54% of those over 65 said they were unsure. This could indicate that the youth is much more comfortable answering silly questions about religion while the elderly feel a question on God’s approval is taking religion too lightly. There is also an ideological divide over God’s performance. Those who identify as very liberal approve of God 54-18, while those who identify as very conservative are almost uniform in their approval, 61-4.

God also performs well on some of the issues it could be responsible for if it exists. God scores its best rating on its handling of creating the universe. The big bang may be messy, but most voters must feel it gets the job done as they give God a 71-5 rating on the issue. As for the animal kingdom, if God exists it may have been off its game when it evolved up the giraffe’s laryngeal nerve, but perhaps the elegant Monarch butterfly makes up for it as voters give God a 56-11 rating on its handling of animals. As one would expect, God’s worst ratings are on its handling of natural disasters; however, Americans may feel the occasional earthquake or hurricane builds character as voters give God strong marks, rating it 50-13.

The reason God was referred to as “it” rather than “he” in the poll was because not everyone who believes in God believes God to be male. Using “it” in the God questions allowed them to be more inclusive.

Full results here

9 comments:

Patrick said...

IMHO using "he" in place of "it" would have been far preferable here. While it may not be as inclusive, it fits in with standard practice in English as well as most religious dogma. Of probably even runs less risk of causing offense. And it's less distracting. ;)

The Interesting Times said...

I see you mentioned the Big Bang in your writeup. Since you evidently didn't ask a question to determine which respondents were creationists, many of them may not necessarily have had the Big Bang in mind when answering regarding their approval of God's creation of the universe (especially since you specifically used the term "creating").

Sophie said...

Oh my. The God poll questions are just hilarious.




I would suggest a question for next time along the lines of "Do you think Republicans in the House of Representatives accomplished more legislatively than the Democrats in the previous Congress?"
(The answer is, of course, the 2009-2011 Congress was one of the most productive ones in history, whereas the 2011-2013 Congress is shaping up to be one of the least.)

: smintheus :: said...

It's all very well that God is still getting a pass from the public with regard to natural disasters. But the question that matters to the chattering classes in DC is, are his approval ratings up or down?

Anonymous said...

Why not have a question...

Do you believe there's a god before you go off on whether it's doing good or not?

Seems like it's a one sided survey.

Anonymous said...

You didn't even test God against Obama!

Adam M said...

I'm going to give PPP the benefit of a doubt here and assume that this was intended for publication on April 1, only there was a glitch in the content management system.

Michael Sadowsky said...

"Why not have a question...

Do you believe there's a god before you go off on whether it's doing good or not?

Seems like it's a one sided survey."

The questions included "if God exists" so as not to presume there is one.

NRH said...

Hey! You're displaying an obvious and perturbing bias. You must be afraid of what you would see because you refused to release the results of testing Ron Paul against God!

< /snark>

 
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