In DepthPublic Attitudes

Politics doesn't always rule

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Science  03 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6243, pp. 16
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6243.16

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Ideology is not the dominant factor in shaping what Americans think about most science-related issues, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center. Although a person's political views are a strong predictor of their attitudes on climate change and a handful of energy issues, their gender, age, religion, race, or education play a larger role on many other controversial topics. The Washington, D.C.–based think tank surveyed 2002 U.S. adults last summer on 22 issues ranging from global warming and offshore drilling to the safety of genetically modified foods, the use of animals in research, and the value of the International Space Station. A previous report based on the same survey found striking differences in what scientists and the public think about many topics, including genetically modified foods and animal research.