Brian Kennedy is a research associate at the Pew Research Center, where he focuses on science and society research. He is an author of a number of studies on public opinion about energy and the environment, genetically modified foods and biotechnology including The Politics of Climate, Public Divides Over Environmental Regulation and Energy Policy, The New Food Fights: U.S. Public Divides Over Food Science and U.S. Public Wary of ‘Enhancing’ Humans. Kennedy received his bachelor’s degree at Davidson College. He received his master’s and Ph.D. in political science at Michigan State University, where his work focused on cross-national attitudes about climate change.
Public Perspectives on Food Risks
Majorities of Americans see at least some risk from food produced using hormones, antibiotics, pesticides or artificial ingredients; half the public says that foods with genetically modified ingredients are worse for one’s health than foods without.
Americans are narrowly divided over health effects of genetically modified foods
About half of U.S. adults say genetically modified foods are worse for one’s health than non-GM foods, while 44% think GM foods ingredients are neither better nor worse for one’s health.
Americans broadly favor government funding for medical and science research
Many Americans say government investments in medical research, engineering and technology or basic scientific research usually pay off in the long run.
Many in U.S. have confidence in what private space companies will accomplish
Most Americans are confident that private space companies will make meaningful contributions in developing safe and reliable spacecraft or conducting research to expand space knowledge.
Space tourism? Majority of Americans say they wouldn’t be interested
About four-in-ten Americans (42%) say they would definitely or probably be interested in orbiting the Earth in a spacecraft in the future, while roughly six-in-ten (58%) say they would not be interested.
Most Americans say climate change affects their local community, including two-thirds living near coast
Some 31% of Americans say the effects of climate change are affecting them personally.
Majorities See Government Efforts to Protect the Environment as Insufficient
At the same time, Americans are closely divided over whether or not it is possible to cut back on regulations while still effectively protecting air and water quality.
Half of Americans think young people don’t pursue STEM because it is too hard
When Americans are asked why more students don’t pursue a degree in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), they are most likely to point to the difficulty of these subjects, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. About half of adults (52%) say the main reason young people don’t pursue STEM degrees is they think these subjects are too hard.
Public confidence in scientists has remained stable for decades
Today, four-in-ten Americans have a great deal of confidence in the scientific community.
Majorities in all major religious groups support requiring childhood vaccination
Still, white evangelical Protestants and religious “nones” are somewhat less likely than members of other religious groups to support a vaccine requirement.