Science-related issues may not be a topic voters automatically associate with their list of policy priorities, but according to a new poll, it’s a subject a majority of Iowans want politicians to address.

A June poll conducted by Research!America and Science Data found 74% of the 802 Iowans surveyed believe “it is important for the presidential candidates to talk about how science and scientific research will affect their policymaking decisions.”

The online Iowa Science Survey found 79% of respondents “would like candidates to have a plan that addresses climate change specifically.”

“Science policies related to our health, environment, economy, and national security impact every American, and these results suggest candidates running for president should be prepared to develop and discuss their policies well before Election Day,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, executive director of Science Debate, in a statement. “We’d love to see some science-focused questions in the upcoming debates.”

Eighty-seven percent of Iowans want the 2020 presidential candidates to participate in a debate centered on the “key science-based challenges facing the United States, such as health care, climate change, energy, education, innovation, and the economy,” according to the poll.

Media outlets analyzing the first round of Democratic presidential debates in June found climate change accounted for 15 minutes or less of the two-day conversation.

Responses gathered by the Iowa Science Survey were bipartisan. Ninety-seven percent of Democrats; 84% of Republicans; and 81% of Independents thought candidates should participate in a debate focused on climate change.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has centered his presidential bid largely on combating climate change, but the issue is part of every Democrats’ pitch to voters as they make their way around Iowa and other early voting states.

Other findings in the poll include:

• 90% of voters want the United States to lead the world in science and technology research;

• 54% are “more likely to vote for a pro-science candidate”;

• 75% believe candidates for president should have a science advisor.

 

By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 7/25/19

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