2006 Elections: Medical Research & U.S. Competitiveness Key Issues for Voters & Candidates

Stem Cell Research a Factor for Many Voters
Monday, September 18, 2006

WASHINGTON—Sept. 18, 2006- Medical research issues and U.S. competitiveness in research and innovation are on the minds of voters and candidates alike this fall, according to a new public opinion poll and survey of Congressional candidates commissioned by Research!America and the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation for Your Candidates-Your Health, a voter education initiative.

The poll results suggest research-related issues such as stem cell research may factor into many Congressional races this year:

  • Seven in 10 potential voters say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who

    is a strong supporter of federal spending for medical, health and scientific research;

  • 67% of Americans say stem cell research is an important issue in deciding how to vote in November;

  • 58% oppose President Bush's veto of The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810), and 56% say they favor federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Of the roughly 400 candidates for Congress who have responded to the Your Candidates–Your Health survey so far, three in four say the U.S. is losing its global competitive edge in innovation. Voters are also concerned, with 65% of Americans saying that we are losing our edge in this area. Americans believe the U.S. should be a global leader in research, but 56% think the U.S. is performing poorly in science and math education.

Research!America and the Lasker Foundation invited all 2006 Congressional candidates to answer 10 questions about medical, health and scientific research. Candidates' responses, along with the poll results, are available in an online voter guide at www.yourcandidatesyourhealth.org.

"The goals of this program are two-fold," said The Honorable John Edward Porter, Research!America chair and former Illinois congressman. "First, we want to educate the voting public broadly, and specifically the 125 million Americans represented by our members, about their candidates' positions regarding research. Second, and no less important, we want to show candidates how much their constituents care about medical, health and science research."

The poll sheds light on Americans' views on these issues:

  • 69% of Americans say basic science research should be federally funded;

  • 55% think funding for the National Institutes of Health should be increased now,

    even in the face of competing budget demands;

  • 63% oppose cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budget; and

  • 73% support tax and regulatory incentives for industry conducting research and development to improve health.

The Your Candidates-Your Health voter guide is the first national survey of Congressional candidates to focus on investment in scientific research and innovation. The online guide presents candidates' responses in an easy-to-use format searchable by ZIP code, state and candidate name.

"Voters can use this guide to inform their decisions at the polls this fall," said Neen Hunt, EdD, president of the Lasker Foundation. "The guide also is about encouraging candidates to add medical research to their campaign platforms so that these reflect the importance of research as a priority of the American people."

Candidates who have yet to respond to the survey can still do so, as new responses will be posted up to the November elections. A Spanish-language version of the site will be available by mid-October.

The national public opinion poll was conducted by Charlton Research Company. The poll was conducted by telephone (random-digit dialing) with a sample size of 800 adults and a margin of error of ±3.5 percent.

Other partners in Your Candidates-Your Health include the American Heart Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, The Hill, National Alliance for Hispanic Health and Society for Neuroscience.

About the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation
The Foundation's mission is to foster the prevention and treatment of disease and disability by honoring excellence in basic and clinical science, and through public education and research advocacy. The centerpiece activity of the Foundation is an annual awards program, which recognizes transforming achievements in basic and clinical research, as well as significant public service in behalf of medical science. For more information, see www.laskerfoundation.org.

About Research!America
Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research! America is supported by more than 500 member organizations that represent the voices of 125 million Americans.


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Media Contacts

Robert Shalett
Director of Communications 

You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter