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Cite Medical Research as Vital to State's Economy, See State as a Leader

HOUSTON—Jan. 4, 2006—More than half (55%) of Texans support embryonic stem cell research and a majority (53%) favor using federal funds to conduct this type of research, according to a statewide poll released today by Research!America. Six in 10 (59%) approve of scientists receiving federal monies for extracting embryonic stem cells from fertilized eggs donated by fertility clinics.

A third (34%) know someone suffering from a condition they hope will become treatable or curable as a result of embryonic stem cell research.

"Texans, like the majority of Americans, embrace medical advances such as embryonic stem cell research," said Mary Woolley, president, Research!America. "They see the potential-for the health of people they know personally and for all Americans-and support the research needed to pursue it."

Large majorities of Texans view medical research as critical to the state's economy. Fully 92% say medical research is important to the economy of Texas, and 78% support financial incentives offered by the state to attract new scientific research laboratories and companies. Nearly six in 10 (58%) say Texas is a leader in medical and health research, but many could not name any institution in Texas that conducts medical or health research.

"Research!America's poll shows how strongly Texans see Texas as a science state," said William R. Brinkley, PhD, dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine and a Research!America board member. "For every dollar invested in research, our state sees a five-fold return, and Texans recognize that investing in medical and health research allows Texas to keep the best scientists and give our students a world-class education."

The new poll also finds:

  • Texans view health-related research as a very important national priority-more so than tax cuts (75% vs. 50%).
  • 92% see investing in scientific research as important in terms of creating jobs.
  • A large majority (64%) would pay $1.00 a week more in taxes for additional medical research.
  • Half (51%) would pay would pay $1.00 a week more for each prescription drug to support additional medical research.
  • Three in four Texans (75%) believe Congress should support tax and regulatory policies to encourage private industries to conduct more medical research, but 53% say they are not well informed about the positions of their elected officials on issues concerning medical, health and scientific research.

Lessons from Katrina and Rita: Protecting the Public's Health

The poll also asked Texans about lessons to be learned from the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita:

  • Fully 96% think it is important that elected officials at local and federal levels listen to recommendations of scientists and public health officials.
  • 51% think the problems that arose after the storms could have been prevented.
  • 32% rate the government as doing a poor job of protecting public health leading up to and after the hurricanes; 29% say it did a fair job; and 27%, a good job.
  • 77% trust that government officials learned lessons from the disasters that will help them respond more effectively in the future.

Research!America commissioned Charlton Research Company to conduct the telephone survey among 800 adults in Texas between Oct. 10-16, 2005. The entire sample was proportionate to the state's demographics including geography, gender, voter registration and ethnicity. The survey has a sampling error of ±3.5 percentage points.

Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make medical and health research-including research to prevent disease, disability and injury and to promote health-a much higher national priority. Research!America has been gauging Americans' attitudes toward medical and health research for more than a decade.

 

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