Survey identifies variety of opinion gaps between scientists and public


The Pew Research Center has released a major survey comparing opinions of the American public to those of scientists in the American Association for the Advancement of Science on a range of topics covering science and society.

While both scientists and the public support government investment in scientific research and acknowledge that science has improved quality of life, there were several major opinion differences regarding specific topics. The largest difference in opinion was a 51-point gap: While 88 percent of AAAS scientists believed that genetically-modified foods were safe to eat, only 37 percent of the American public agreed. Other gaps of 30 points or more included animal research, pesticides, human evolution and human causes of climate change.

A major area of agreement was in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. There, 16 percent of scientists and 29 percent of the public considered American K–12 STEM education to be above average compared to other countries.

The complete report can be found on the Pew Research Center website:—Hanna Starobinets, Web Editor