Liberals, Democrats More Likely to Disbelieve Bible, Says Gallup Poll

July 9, 2011 - 9:32 AM

President Obama's Inauguration

President Barack Obama places his hand on the Bible when he takes the oath of office to defend the U.S. Constitution, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP photo/Mark Wilson)

(CNSNews.com) - Liberals and Democrats are more likely than conservatives, moderates, Republicans and independents to believe the Bible is nothing more than a book of fables and legends made up by man, according to a new Gallup poll.

Since George Washington was inaugurated in 1789, American presidents have traditionally placed their left hand on the Bible when they take the oath of office and swear to defend the Constitution of the United States.

Uniquely, President Barack Obama took the oath of office twice. The first time, at his formal inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20, 2009, Chief Justice John Roberts made a mistake in the wording of the oath--which is prescribed by the Constitution--and Obama followed him in making the error. At thate event, Obama placed his left hand on the Bible while taking the oath. The next night at the White House, Chief Justice Roberts again administered the oath to Obama, this time wording it correctly. When Obama took the oath a second time, however, he did not place his hand on the Bible.

President Barack Obama taking oath

President Barack Obama taking the oath for a second time on Jan. 21, 2009, in the White House, this time without putting his left hand on the Bible. On Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2009, Chief Justice John Roberts had made a mistake in the wording of the oath. (White House photo/Pete Souza)

Gallup asked 1,018 American adults this question: “Which of the following statements comes closest to describing your views about the Bible -- the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word, the Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, or the Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man?”

Overall, 30 percent said it was the actual word of God to be taken literally, 49 percent said it was the inspired word of God, 17 percent said it was an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.

When the respondents were broken down by political ideology and party, liberals and Democrats were more likely to reject the divine origin of the Bible. Almost a third of liberals and almost a quarter of Democrats said the Bible was a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.

Seven percent of conservatives, 20 percent of moderates and 31 percent of liberals said that the Bible was an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.

Fifty-five percent of moderates, 48 percent of liberals, and 45 percent of conservatives said the Bible was the inspired word of God.

Forty-six percent of conservatives, 23 percent of moderates, and 14 percent of liberals said the Bible was the actual word of God to be taken literally.

When divided by political party affiliation, 24 percent of Democrats, 21 percent of independents, and 6 percent of Republicans said the Bible was an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.

Fifty-one percent of Republicans said the Bible was the inspired word of God, while 50 percent of independents took this position, and 46 percent of Democrats.

Forty-two percent of Republicans told Gallup that the Bible was the actual word of God to be taken literally, while 27 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of independents expressed this view.

A combined 93 percent of Republicans said the Bible was either the literal word of God or the inspired word of God.  A combined 73 percent of Democrats, as well as a combined 73 percent of independents, said the Bible was either the literal word of God or the inspired word of God.

Gallup conducted this poll on May 5-8, 2011 and released it on July 8, 2011.