Large majorities value government investments in science and consider it important for the United States to be a world leader in scientific achievement, but few think the country is gaining ground globally.
Lack of Preparedness Among Top Reactions Americans Have to Public Health Officials’ COVID-19 Response
Overall, 46% of Americans say the statement “public health officials were unprepared for the outbreak” describes their views extremely or very well, including similar shares of Republicans and Democrats.
Several climate policies receive bipartisan support, despite Republicans and Democrats differing on the overall approach.
Americans offer a lackluster evaluation of how the country has balanced priorities during the coronavirus outbreak. Fewer than half say the country has given the right amount of priority to the needs of K-12 students, public health or quality of life.
Increasing representation in science is seen as important for attracting more Hispanic people to science.
Yet renewable sources, like wind and solar, remain Americans’ overall priority for domestic production.
Black Americans hold multifaceted views when it comes to trust in medical research scientists: Majorities hold largely positive views of their competence, but express concern about the potential for misconduct.
Majorities of Americans say the United States should prioritize the development of renewable energy sources and take steps toward the country becoming carbon neutral by the year 2050. But just 31% want to phase out fossil fuels completely, and many foresee unexpected problems in a major transition to renewable energy.
Trust in scientists and medical scientists has fallen below pre-pandemic levels, with 29% of U.S. adults saying they have a great deal of confidence in medical scientists to act in the best interests of the public. This is down from 40% in November 2020 and 35% in January 2019, before COVID-19 emerged. Other prominent groups – including the military, police officers and public school principals – have also seen their ratings decline.
Americans are increasingly critical of the response to COVID-19 from elected officeholders and public health officials. Positive ratings of public health officials, such as those at the CDC, have fallen 10 points since August. And 60% of U.S. adults say they’ve felt confused as a result of changes to recommendations on how to slow the spread of COVID-19.