In January 2020, Research!America commissioned a survey to better understand the opinions of Americans regarding federal support for current research efforts. A combined 88% indicate that speeding medical progress should be a priority for both the President and for Congress with over 50% of respondents seeing this as “very important.” Information like this – gathered before our nation’s focus shifted to the COVID-19 pandemic – is a timely reminder of how strongly Americans desire federal support for biomedical research innovation. In the same survey, 46% of respondents elected that speeding medical progress should be a priority among candidates for the 2020 election. This sentiment has increased 10% since 2016 when we asked the same question.
These interests remain consistent across the political spectrum, as 92% of Democrats, 89% of Republicans, and 83% of Independents believe in the necessity for federal leaders to prioritize speedy medical progress. Similarly, survey data from two years prior shows Americans feel increasingly strong that the Trump administration should prioritize the implementation of health research and innovation to better medical progress. Between 2017 and 2018, the number of respondents saying “very important” increased from 43 to 54%.
Since our founding more than 30 years ago, a key strategy tool in Research!America’s advocacy for science and medical research has been influencing public opinion. As President Abraham Lincoln said, “…public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” This series of blog posts explores findings and trends from our national survey data.