Message to Candidates: Strong Majority Across Political Spectrum Say Faster Medical Progress should be a Higher Federal Priority

Monday, March 2, 2020

A strong majority of Americans say investing in research is important to job creation, economic growth and maintaining U.S. global competitiveness.  According to a new, national opinion survey commissioned by Research!America, Americans across the political spectrum agree it’s important for the President and Congress to assign a high priority to faster medical progress and favor doubling federal spending on medical research over the next five years.   A strong majority would be willing to pay more in taxes if those dollars are used for medical research.

“These recent survey results carry a message to all candidates running for national office that the public places a high value on federal investment in medical research,” said Mary Woolley, President and CEO of Research!America. “There is also widespread public concern that we should be doing more to counter specific public health threats.”

According to the survey (which was fielded prior to the coronavirus outbreak), among the health threats concerning Americans, a majority:

  • Think climate change is currently harming their health
  • Believe public investment in mental health research is not enough
  • Perceive opioid abuse and addiction as a major problem in their community
  • Agree more research is needed to understand the impact of vaping on health
  • Support research to understand and eliminate health disparities

The survey also shows troubling declines in those who believe in the importance of vaccines.

Importantly, most Americans say when thinking about health threats, it is important for elected officials at all levels to listen to advice from scientists and public health advisors. Underscoring this, seven out of 10 Americans consider it important for candidates for elected office to have a science advisor.

This online survey was conducted by Zogby Analytics on behalf of Research!America in January 2020, among 1,003 adults. The survey has a theoretical sampling error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. To view survey results, click here

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Robert Shalett
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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