Polls

POLL DATA SUMMARY - VOLUME 19

Research!America annually publishes a summary of results from our most recent public opinion surveys.
Use this data in letters to the editor; op-eds; newspaper articles; letters to and visits with elected officials; speeches; talking points; congressional testimony; town hall meetings and debates; and policy statements.

America Speaks: Poll Data Summary, Volume 19 was published in March 2019.  

To view a complete database of national public opinion surveys, click here.

 

MESSAGE FROM LEADERSHIP

Research!America’s mission is to advocate for science, discovery, and innovation to achieve better health for all, and this year marks the alliance’s 30th year of doing just that.

We were founded during a challenging period for the research enterprise: a recession jeopardized federal research funding and policymakers appeared to be increasingly dismissing the value of science.

We began surveying the public, believing then – as we do now – that effective science advocacy begins with understanding the public’s attitudes about science-relevant topics.

Over the years, the surveys we’ve commissioned have sometimes reinforced and sometimes confounded our assumptions (A prime example: Americans appreciate the role the federal government plays in financing noncommercial basic research, but most cannot name a single institution where research is conducted or a single living scientist who has conducted it). Surveys have surfaced plenty of policy-relevant results (e.g. enduring support for stem cell research) and trends (a recent one: declining trust in vaccine development). And fundamentally, they’ve empowered action (a case in point: strong and steady support for faster medical progress provided a sturdy foundation for doubling the NIH budget.)

Keeping a finger on the pulse of public opinion has not only helped us shape our public awareness and advocacy efforts, but has produced an historical record that in important ways reflects back the astounding value and impact of research. When we commissioned our first survey in 1992, most Americans cited HIV/AIDS as the biggest health concern in the US. Today, just 1% do. Public- and private-sector research has played a pivotal role in transforming HIV/AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable chronic illness.

As this summary of recent survey findings goes to print, we are once again facing significant challenges to the future of medical, health and scientific research. Scientific progress requires investment; yet, we know that our nation’s growing debt and deficit will force increasingly difficult budget tradeoffs, and the challenge of rising health care costs could result in policies that inadvertently choke off the very innovation we need to stop diseases and the costs they generate. The use of science to inform sound policy is challenged in an era during which “fake news” seeds confusion and mistrust.

But as our most recent survey results affirm, Americans understand the significance of science. They want federal policymakers to invest in it and encourage the private sector to do the same. Americans know that research is a problem solver. Armed with this information, our role as advocates is to work with our members and partners to ensure federal policymakers champion science like never before, putting it to work to advance the goals and aspirations of the American people.

 

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