Survey Shows Overwhelming Support for a Stronger Focus on Science Across Political Parties

Oct 19, 2020

by ASME.org

A recent survey commissioned by Research!America has found that despite the highly partisan time we are living in, Republicans and Democrats alike show strong support for focusing on science. Especially in light of the ongoing COVID-9 crisis, the survey found that Americans believe the nation is in urgent need of reaffirming its commitment to science. One particularly interesting result was that 77% of those surveyed view basic scientific research that advances the frontiers of knowledge as necessary and should be supported by the federal government and furthermore, 76% agree basic research funded by the federal government is important to private sector innovation.
 
The survey also found that on a bipartisan basis, Americans:
  • Believe science benefits them (88%); 
  • Would pay $1 more a week in taxes to support scientific research (66%);
  • Believe America should maintain its global leadership in science (89%);
  • Support incentives for private sector investment in science and technology (76%);
  • Express concern about the number of children without home internet access (64%); and 
  • Agree the U.S. is at a critical point for committing to a major new initiative to assure health, security and prosperity for the nation (77%).  
Survey results also dictate a heightened need for focus on STEM skills and education with 83% of respondents saying they would strongly or somewhat recommend that their child, family member, or other young person enter a STEM field. To that end, ASME has released a new General Position Paper on “Strengthening Pre-College STEM Education in the United States as a Technology Literacy and Workforce Imperative.” The paper discusses how increased global competition is requiring the United States to consider new approaches to STEM education and what actions are needed to ensure a technologically literate and ready workforce. The paper encourages policymakers to strengthen K-12 STEM education by supporting efforts to improve coordination of existing STEM education programs across the federal science and engineering agencies, as well as increase federally funded research focused on STEM teaching and learning.
 
“The level of bipartisan public consensus in this survey shows that support for science is much more than an agreement; it’s a mandate to elected officials to do more,” says Mary Woolley, Research!America President. “It’s time for a national refocus on science so we may address the issues top of mind for Americans and live up to our full potential as a science-strong nation.”

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