Presidential Candidates' Answers to 20 Science Questions

Janice Lloyd

Hillary Clinton has been clear about her support for vaccines, but Donald Trump appears to be revising his views on immunizations. While supporting vaccination laws established by the states, Gary Johnson thinks the federal government should be allowed to intervene if there is a national or regional health concern. Jill Stein is concerned about declining vaccinations rates and has a plan to reverse it.

The presidential candidates’ thoughts on vaccinations and 19 other science-related questions were released last Tuesday by ScienceDebate.org.

Trump suggested a year ago at a GOP debate there’s a link between vaccinations and autism, giving an example of a 2 ½ year old child who developed a fever and autism shortly after getting a vaccine.

His response, when asked by ScienceDebate.org about vaccine science, seems to have shifted. “We should educate the public on the values of a comprehensive vaccination program. We have been successful with other public service programs and this seems to be of enough importance that we should put resources against this task.”

Other fresh viewpoints focus on an emerging public health crisis brought on by the Zika virus and a stalemate in Congress over whether to grant additional funds to fight it. Clinton vows to create a “Public Health Rapid Response Fund, with consistent, year-to-year budgets, to better enable the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and local public health departments, hospital systems, and other federal agencies to quickly and aggressively respond to major public health crises and pandemics.”

Trump’s response, “We cannot simply throw money at these institutions and assume that the nation will be well served. What we ought to focus on is assessing where we need to be as a nation and then applying resources to those areas where we need the most work.”

Having a basic understanding of the science forming public policy issues is an important thing for presidential and congressional candidates to have, according to a large majority (87%) of Americans in a 2015 nationwide survey commissioned by Research!America and ScienceDebate.org.

The 20 questions were developed by dozens of scientific organizations including Research!America representing more than 10 million scientists.

Click here for the full blog article, including Clinton’s, Trump’s, Johnson’s and Stein’s answers to important questions on science and innovation. 

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Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.
Abraham Lincoln