Alec Tyson is an associate director of research at Pew Research Center, where he studies public views of science and technology and the implications of science for society. He is an expert in U.S. survey research and has written about American public opinion on a range of topics, including U.S. generations, the growing role of partisanship in American life, climate change, the environment, and trust in scientists. Alec regularly presents findings from the Center’s studies to various groups in the academic, diplomatic and policy sectors and is a frequently quoted expert in national media. He is an active member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research.
The share of Americans who say science has had a mostly positive impact on society has fallen 16 percentage points since before the start of the coronavirus outbreak, from 73% in January 2019 to 57% today.
As the Earth’s temperature continues to rise, climate change remains a lower priority for some Americans, and a subset of the public rejects that it’s happening at all. To better understand the perspectives of those who see less urgency to address climate change, the Center conducted a series of in-depth interviews designed to provide deeper insight into the motivations and views of those most skeptical about climate change.
A majority of Americans (69%) say it’s essential for the U.S. to continue to be a world leader in space. As private companies become a bigger part of the industry, the public gives them more positive than negative ratings for their contributions to space exploration and spacecraft development. Still, Americans continue to say NASA has a critical role to play going forward.
Large shares of Americans support the U.S. taking steps to address global climate change and prioritize renewable energy development in the country. Still, fewer than half are ready to phase out fossil fuels completely and 59% oppose ending the production of gas-powered cars.
About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.