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Most Americans Believe In The Bible. Fewer Care If Their President Does.

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 12/11/2015 Ariel Edwards-Levy
ATHENA IMAGE © Bloomberg via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

Most Americans see the Bible as either the literal or the inspired word of God, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds, but they're less likely to insist that a presidential nominee hold the same views.

The poll finds that a quarter of Americans think the Bible is the "actual word of God" and should be taken literally and word-for-word, while another 39 percent say the Bible is the "inspired word of God," even if it isn't meant to be taken literally. Another 26 percent say it's an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts authored by men.

However, a solid 29 percent of respondents say it doesn't matter to them what a presidential candidate believes about the Bible, with another 11 percent saying they're not sure what effect it would have on their vote.

Religious beliefs have always played a role on the campaign trail. At the first Republican primary debate this year, candidates were asked whether they'd received word from God about their political priorities. More recently, retired neurosurgeon and presidential candidate Ben Carson cited the Bible when defending his belief that Egypt's pyramids were built to store grain, rather than as tombs. That theory been dismissed by experts and isn't widely shared by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to which Carson belongs.

"Some people believe in the Bible like I do and don't find that to be silly at all, and believe that God created the earth and don't find that to be silly at all," Carson said. "The secular progressives try to ridicule it every time it comes up and they're welcome to do that."

Much of the public does share Carson's faith in some mainstream Biblical precepts. Forty-two percent of those polled said they believe the world was created in six days, with 37 percent saying it was not and the rest unsure. A 52 percent majority believes the end of the world will happen as predicted in the Book of Revelation, with 13 percent saying that this will occur in their lifetime.

But that doesn't mean people are equally on board with the pyramid theory: Just 4 percent of respondents said they think the pyramids were grain silos, while 72 percent believe they were used as tombs.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Nov. 10-11 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls' methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov's reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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