New poll suggests leaders need to listen more closely to Americans

Apr 06, 2011

With Congress at a budget impasse, a new poll suggests the nation's leaders should look more deeply at the public's priorities, particularly regarding proposed cuts to medical, health and scientific research. Research!America urges our nation's leaders to put the public's interest and the nation's future ahead of politics and to move past polarizing budget battles and the uncertainty of continuing resolutions that resolve nothing. Americans are hungry for solutions from Washington.

The poll, commissioned by Research!America, surveyed a mix of self-described conservatives (32%), (32%) and moderates (36%). Among the findings:

  • As we emerge from the , 78% of Americans think federal funding for health research is important for and the ;
  • 61% say accelerating our nation's investment in research to improve health is a priority;
  • 76% think R&D is important to the U.S. economy; and
  • 84% think it is important that the government plays a role in research for prevention and wellness.
The poll shows that Americans support the entire research enterprise, from federally funded research to research funded by the private sector, but that few—just 11%—say they are very well informed about their elected officials' positions on medical, health and scientific research.

To address this gap, Research!America and more than a dozen partner organizations have joined forces for the 2011 launch of Your Congress–Your Health, a non-partisan constituent education initiative that asks members of the 112th Congress to share their positions on research and related issues.

Former Congressman John E. Porter (R-IL), Research!America's chair, said: "Today we face the most daunting challenge to research funding in perhaps 65 years. Now is a crucial time to ask elected officials their views on medical and health research. Research, and the work building on it, creates high-tech, high-paying jobs, grows our economy, and pays for the investment thousands of times over in health care cost savings. We must insist on these investments to maintain our leadership. Our health, our economy and our well-being depend on it."

The poll shows that 90% of Americans think the U.S. is in danger of losing its global competitive edge in science, technology and education—a 5% increase since May 2010—and an astounding 98% think education and training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is important to U.S. competitiveness and future economic prosperity. Global rankings show the U.S. slipping behind other nations in math and science education.

The poll confirms that Americans also value privately funded research, which often builds on discoveries made in federally funded labs to bring new drugs and devices to market. A majority (55%) of Americans support tax and regulatory incentives for industries investing in and conducting health research and development; 70% think it is important to make the federal R&D tax credit for businesses permanent, and 84% think it is important to invest in regulatory science, to make the drug and device development process more efficient for businesses and safer for patients.

Mary Woolley, Research!America's president and CEO, said: "The discovery and development of new, life-saving treatments depends on a healthy research enterprise, funded by both the federal government and the private sector. Cutting research funding will postpone hope for a longer, better life for the millions of Americans diagnosed with deadly and debilitating conditions each year."

Additional findings from the poll include:

  • 91% think R&D is important to their state's economy;
  • 83% agree that basic scientific research should be funded by the federal government;
  • 66% think research to improve health is part of the solution to rising health care costs; and
  • 72% favor expanding federal funding for research using embryonic stem cells.
Woolley added: "Research!America has kept our fingers on the pulse of public attitudes toward the future of health for nearly 20 years. We know the American public sees research as a solution—to health care costs, job creation, increased productivity, global leadership, and to finding and quickly delivering life-saving cures, preventions and treatments."

Your Congress–Your Health asks Members of to share their positions on topics related to research and health. The site posts their responses and offers easy-to-use tools for the public to contact their senators and representative to thank them for submitting their views or ask them to do so.

Explore further: Physicists create tool to foresee language destruction impact and thus prevent it

More information: To see more poll results, visit www.yourcongressyourhealth.org… e_america.php?qq=501

Provided by Research!America

3.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Poll finds concerns about pace of medical and health research

May 20, 2010

Nearly three-quarters of Americans are confident in our system for reviewing the effectiveness and safety of new medicines and medical devices, yet 41% say it takes too long to approve a drug and allow it to be sold to consumers. ...

Basic research critical to America's economic recovery

Feb 11, 2009

The Science Coalition (TSC) today urged Congress to move swiftly to pass economic recovery legislation that includes strong funding for key science agencies including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department ...

Prospective voters and the new health care law

Oct 27, 2010

A comprehensive review of national opinion polls, including newly released data, shows that those who say they intend to vote for a Democratic congressional candidate in 2010 and those who say they intend to vote for a Republican ...

Recommended for you

Understanding the economics of human trafficking

11 hours ago

Although Europe is one of the strictest regions in the world when it comes to guaranteeing the respect of human rights, the number of people trafficked to or within the EU still amounts to several hundred ...

Affirmative action elicits bias in pro-equality Caucasians

Jul 25, 2014

New research from Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business indicates that bias towards the effects of affirmative action exists in not only people opposed to it, but also in those who strongly endorse equality.

Election surprises tend to erode trust in government

Jul 24, 2014

When asked who is going to win an election, people tend to predict their own candidate will come out on top. When that doesn't happen, according to a new study from the University of Georgia, these "surprised losers" often ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

COCO
not rated yet Apr 07, 2011
these investments can only after enhancement to the military budget which the President has decimated - we need global security first - all the rest is gravy. We need to invest at least double digit increases to the Pentagon to be on even footing with the terrorists. Education can wait - teachers need to teach that!