America’s first colonists were a religious lot. Three-and-a-half centuries later, not much has changed: more than 9 in 10 Americans still say they believe in God, according to a new Gallup poll.
American enthusiasm for the divine has hardly waned since the 1940s, when a whopping 96% confirmed their belief in a monotheistic deity. Still, God’s poll numbers have dipped slightly over the past half-century to 92%, with support among certain subgroups slipping below 90%.
Unsurprisingly, belief in God is lowest among young Americans, liberals, independents, residents of the East Coast and those with postgraduate educations. Also unsurprising: God is still polling well in the Bible Belt and has “nearly universal” support among Republicans and conservatives, according to Gallup.
In 1944 when the poll began, only 1% of Americans said that they did not believe in God. But the atheistically-inclined are growing: In the 2011 poll, 7% took the nonbeliever plunge. Others went for the “something out there” option: about 12% of Americans say they believe in a “universal spirit or higher power” rather than God per se when given a choice.
The big loser? Agnosticism — only 1% of Americans say they have “no opinion” on the God question.