5 key takeaways on what influences Americans’ views of science
Politics are at the center of Americans’ views on many, but not all, science issues. Here are five facts from our new report.
Americans, Politics and Science Issues
The general public’s political views are strongly linked to their attitudes on climate and energy issues. But politics is a less important factor when it comes to biomedical, food safety and space issues.
Major Gaps Between the Public, Scientists on Key Issues
Despite broadly similar views about the overall place of science in America, there are striking differences between the public and scientists’ views on a host of science-related issues, from whether genetically modified foods are safe to eat to whether the world’s growing population will be a major problem.
Catholics Divided Over Global Warming
A solid majority of U.S. Catholics believe that Earth is warming. But climate change is a highly politicized issue that sharply divides American Catholics, like the U.S. public as a whole, mainly along political party lines.
Opinions on expanding access to experimental drugs differ by race, income
Generally, higher-income adults and college degree earners are more likely than others to favor greater availability, and African-Americans are significantly less supportive of the idea.
How Scientists Engage the Public
Most scientists (87%) believe it is important to participate in public policy debates. Almost half use social media to discuss or follow science, and nearly a quarter blog about science and research.
How Different Groups Think about Scientific Issues
Different demographic groups think differently about scientific issues. For example, those more likely to think genetically modified food is unsafe include women, African-Americans and Hispanics, and those without college degrees.
NASA popularity still sky-high
NASA continues to be very popular among the public, with four times as many Americans holding a favorable view of the space agency as unfavorable (68% vs. 17%).
Young adults more likely to say vaccinating kids should be a parental choice
A majority of Americans think children should be required to get vaccinated. Young adults more likely to say vaccinating kids should be a parental choice.
U.S. students improving – slowly – in math and science, but still lagging internationally
Scientists and the general public agree that K-12 STEM education in the U.S. leaves much to be desired, and test results appear to back them up.