Americans rank jobs, research as priorities for candidates to address

Oct 13, 2010

A majority of Americans (58%) said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports increased federal spending on job creation, in a national poll commissioned by Research!America. In addition, support for expanded federal health research funding fared well among issues that would make Americans more likely to vote for a candidate.

Fully 91% of Americans think (R&D) is important to their state's economy, and 71% said investing in health research is important for and economic recovery. Data compiled by Research!America, available at http://www.researchamerica.org/economic_impact, backs up this view, indicating a strong relationship between research funding and economic activity.

The poll is available here: http://www.yourcandidatesyourhealth.org/where_america.php.

"Our poll findings show that Americans understand very clearly the connection between greater investment in research and economic growth and job creation, yet too few know their candidates' views on research," said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. "I urge all Americans to find out where their candidates stand on these important issues."

Despite strong public support for research funding, the poll found that a majority (53%) are not well informed about the positions of their senators and representative on medical, health and scientific research. Your Candidates-Your Health.org, an initiative of Research!America and two dozen partner organizations, asks congressional candidates to share their platforms for research and health. The site posts their responses and offers easy-to-use tools for the public to contact their candidates to thank them for submitting their views or ask them to do so.

In the poll, nearly nine in 10 Americans (88%) said it is important for Congress to work on a bipartisan basis, with civility and respect, to make research to improve health a top national priority.

"Research investment is absolutely essential to America's future—for our health and our economy—and it's essential that candidates for Congress understand this. Each dollar invested in research produces more than double that amount in economic output," said Research!America's chair, former Illinois Congressman John Edward Porter. "Americans deserve leaders in Congress who will work together to achieve sorely needed results for our nation's health and economic challenges today and in the future. Medical research, science and innovation are investments we simply cannot afford to postpone."

Additional findings from the poll include:

  • 87% think the U.S. military investment in research to improve health for service members and veterans is a good use of tax dollars.
  • 84% say it is important that the U.S. work to improve health globally through R&D.
  • 88% think basic scientific research is necessary and should be supported by the federal government; 87% say it is important for the U.S. to achieve the goal adopted by other countries of spending 3% of GDP on R&D; and 74% say education and training in science, technology, engineering and math is important to U.S. competitiveness and future economic prosperity.
  • 84% say prevention and wellness reduce health care costs, and 77% say research is part of the solution to these rising costs.
  • Fully 70% favor expanded federal funding for research using embryonic stem cells.
  • Americans are split on the speed of the drug approval process: 42% say the time it takes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve drugs is too long, 12% say not long enough and 28% say it is about right.

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