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Voters Want Presidential Candidates to Talk More About Science



Robert Shalettrshalett@ResearchAmerica.org, 571-482-2737
Sheril Kirshenbaum, sheril@ScienceDebate.org347-771-8495

A large majority of Iowans (74 percent) say it is important for the presidential candidates to talk about how science and scientific research will affect their policymaking decisions, but only 22 percent recall them discussing science issues during the past two months. The Iowa Science Survey, jointly conducted by Research!America and Science Debate, surveyed 802 Iowans on their attitudes to science policy issues during the 2020 presidential election.

“Science policies related to our health, environment, economy, and national security impact every American, and these results suggest candidates running for president should be prepared to develop and discuss their policies well before Election Day,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, executive director of Science Debate. “We’d love to see some science-focused questions in the upcoming debates.”

Eighty-seven percent of Iowans say they agree the presidential candidates should participate in a debate to discuss key science-based challenges facing the United States, such as health care, climate change, energy, education, innovation, and the economy. This represents a majority of Americans from both major parties, including 97 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of Republicans.

“These results reveal a real opportunity that candidates have to connect with potential Iowa voters,” said Mike Coburn, Research!America’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “Iowa is the home of world-class scientific research institutions that fuel local economic growth and drive life-saving progress.”

Other key findings from the Iowa survey include:

  • Seventy-nine percent of Iowans would like candidates to have a plan that addresses climate change specifically.
  • Ninety percent believe it is important for the U.S. to be a leader in science and technology research.
  • More than half (54 percent) are more likely to vote for a pro-science candidate.
  • Seventy-one percent believe that federal investment in mental health has been inadequate.
  • Seventy-five percent say it is important that candidates for president have a science advisor.
  • Iowans value state leadership in many areas including agriculture, education, medical and health research, manufacturing, and science and technology.

The Iowa Science Survey was conducted online by Zogby Analytics on behalf of Research!America and Science Debate between June 13-19 with 802 adult Iowans. The survey has a theoretical sampling error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. To view the survey, please visit: www.ResearchAmerica.org/IowaScienceSurvey19

The Research!America alliance advocates for science, discovery, and innovation to achieve better health for all. Visit www.ResearchAmerica.org

Science Debate is a nonpartisan organization that works to get every candidate on record about science policy. Visit www.ScienceDebate.org

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