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“What Do You Believe?” Asks New Poll [AUDIO]

What do you believe? A new Monmouth University-Asbury Park Press poll takes a look at what drives the Garden State’s belief system on a variety of topics.

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Overall, 64% of New Jerseyans believe in life after death, 51% believe in the theory of evolution, 49% believe in life on other planets, and 38% believe in astrology.

Education is a significant factor behind the belief in astrology and evolution, although it has less impact on belief in life after or beyond our earthly existence. Fewer than 3-in-10 New Jerseyans with a college degree believe in astrology compared to more than 4-in-10 of those without a degree. In terms of evolution, more than 2-in-3 (69%) college graduates believe in it, compared to 52% with some college education and 37% of New Jerseyans who never went to college.

The poll also asks how New Jerseyans view the Bible. Nearly half (49%) see it as the inspired word of God, but not everything in it should be taken literally. At the opposite ends of the spectrum, 24% say that it is indeed the literal word of God while a similar 20% say it is only a book of fables, history, and moral precepts.

“Once again, New Jersey shows itself to be a microcosm of the nation,” says Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “We’re a little less fundamentally religious, but only just a little. There are pockets of every type of belief throughout the Garden State.”

For a final Garden State twist, the poll also asks about the Jersey Devil and found that 60% of New Jerseyans have heard about the home-grown legend, but only 9% believe it actually exists. Residents of South (80%) and Central (65%) Jersey are more likely than those in North Jersey (48%) to be aware of the legend, but no more likely to believe in it – 11% South/Central to 7% North.

The poll was conducted by telephone with 804 New Jersey adults from April 11 to 15, 2012. This sample has a margin of error of + 3.5 percent.

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