Science and the Public
A new report by the Pew ResearchCenter for the People& the Press in collaboration with the American Association for theAdvancement of Science (AAAS) found that the majority of Americans think"that science has had a positive effect on society” and that science hasmade life easier for most people.
There is broad public support for governmentinvestments in science as "large majorities of the public think that government investments in basic scientific research (73%) and engineering and technology (74%) pay off in the long run, and 60% says that government investment in research is essential for scientific progress."
There are positive views from both sides of the political spectrum, although Democrats (80%) are more likely than Republicans (68%) to say that government investments in basic science pay off in the long term.
Despite the rosy view of science from the public, the majority of scientists in turn see the public and the mediaas impediments to the advancement of science. Fully 85% of scientists see thepublic's lack of scientific knowledge as a major problem, and over 75% say amajor problem for science is that news reports fail to distinguish betweenfindings that are well-founded and those that are not.