poll data

When it comes to politics and policy, Americans overwhelmingly believe that science should be a part of the conversation. In a public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America in January 2021 89% of respondents said it was very or somewhat important for scientists to inform elected officials about their research and its impact on society. Similarly, 88% said it was very or somewhat important for elected officials to listen to advice from scientists, and 87% said it was important for elected officials to listen to advice from public health professionals. Research!America is committed to putting science front and center in policymaking. In order to make this goal a reality, our elected...
Americans largely think the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed major changes needed to public health systems. We asked participants to select from two statements: “The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that major changes are needed in our public health systems, including more funding” or “The COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime event and existing systems are dealing with it adequately.” Seven in 10 said they believed that major changes are needed to our public health systems. Though pandemic preparedness is an important component of public health systems, Americans also need these systems to address long-standing public health challenges like the opioid crisis. When asked about opioid abuse...
According to a January 2021 survey commissioned by Research!America, most Americans (72%) cannot name a living scientist. Similarly, over half of Americans could not name a medical or health research institution, and 43% were unaware that medical research is conducted in all 50 U.S. states. However, the number saying they could name a living scientist increased from just 20% in 2017 to 27% in the most recent survey. The increased visibility of science during the COVID-19 pandemic may be behind this jump. Pfizer and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention topped the list of named research institutions. Despite this lack of visibility, those polled largely held scientists in high...
According to results from a Zogby Analytics survey commissioned by Research!America in January 2021, a majority of Americans support research investment. More than 75% believe investing in research is important for achieving key priorities, from economic recovery and job creation to preventing and curing illnesses to maintaining global competitiveness. Three-quarters strongly or somewhat favor doubling federal spending on research over the next five years, and 6 in 10 say they would be willing to pay more in taxes if that money would be spent on medical research. Support for funding university research is high, with about 80% approval for federal and state funding of university research...
While the United States has been the uncontested leader in research & development (R&D) spending for decades, global trends in R&D investment pose a growing threat to U.S. leadership. The share of U.S. GDP devoted public R&D investment continues to shrink, threatening our ability to firmly stand on the cutting edge of scientific innovation. Nearly 90% of Americans say it is important for the U.S. to be a global leader in health and scientific research. Eight in 10 believe it is important for the U.S. to set and achieve a goal of spending 3%-5% of the GDP on research and development, as countries like Japan and Korea have done. Currently, the U.S. spends 0.7% of its GDP on...
Although climate change is often portrayed as a polarizing issue, it is a significant concern for Americans, according to a Research!America survey. Well over half of those surveyed said that climate change is already harming their own health, and similar numbers believe climate change is harming the health of others in their household, of Americans in general, and of people around the world. Two-thirds believe climate change will harm their own health “a great deal” or “a moderate amount” in the next 10 years, and only 14% said they believed climate change would not harm their health or the health of their household at all in the next 10 years. Multiple systems, including public health...
According to a Research!America survey, a large majority of Americans support research to eliminate health disparities. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted health disparities that exist along racial, ethnic, geographic, and economic lines. However, these disparities - in rates of chronic illnesses, in infant mortality, and in health outcomes - existed long before the pandemic. Research into the underlying causes and solutions can help eliminate these disparities in the future. Americans largely support research looking into health disparities, with over half saying it is very important to conduct this type of research. Check out our Public Opinion Polls page to see the full results from...
As part of ongoing work to keep a finger of the pulse of public opinion, Research!America has commissioned numerous questions over the years to determine what Americans know about vaccines and immunization as well as how they feel about vaccines and vaccine safety. The findings reveal a decidedly negative shift over the last decade in Americans’ attitudes towards vaccines. While this public opinion research predates the novel coronavirus pandemic, it certainly suggests that deploying effective strategies to improve the public’s confidence in vaccines must occur now and not wait until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed. Our national survey commissioned in January 2020 shows that respondents...
It’€™s all over the news: The federal government is headed for significant, across-the-board budget cuts. Sequestration, or 10 years of automatic spending cuts, is a self-inflicted consequence passed by Congress, aimed to be a drastic outcome of failing to agree on a federal deficit-reduction package. Some Members of Congress argue that the sequester will not have a significant impact; they claim that the 5.1% cuts made in 2013 are only a drop in the bucket and there is no need to worry. However, the amount of money that the National Institutes of Health will lose, $1.56 billion, could fund the entire National Institute of Mental Health for more than a year. Cuts to the National Science...
Research!America’s booth at GHTC briefing On February 26, the Global Health Technologies Coalition held a Capitol Hill briefing, ’€œ Renewing US leadership: Policies to advance global health research .’€ The briefing included displays from global health nonprofits, the launch of GHTC’€™s fourth annual policy report as well as a panel discussion. Panelists included Dr. Lee Hall, Chief of Parasitology and International Programs at NIAID, Dr. Alan Magill, Director of Malaria at the Gates Foundation and Dr. Caroline Ryan, Deputy Coordinator for Technical Leadership at PEPFAR. Each highlighted key U.S. contributions to global health including the development of a rapid TB diagnostic, advances...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco