Report – Widening partisan divide over scientists’ place in policy debates – “Large majorities of Americans value government investments in the scientific enterprise and consider it important for the United States to be a world leader in scientific achievement. However, on the heels of a global coronavirus outbreak that put scientific research and understanding in the spotlight, few believe the pace of scientific development in the U.S. surpasses that of other countries around the world. Just 14% think the U.S. is gaining ground on other countries in its scientific achievements. A larger share (38%) thinks the U.S. is losing ground, and 47% say it is staying in about the same place relative to other countries. Republicans and Democrats express a shared sense that the U.S. is largely failing to gain ground in global scientific advances. Recent congressional action has included provisions to address U.S. competitiveness in scientific and technological fields, including a bill that provides tax incentives for manufacturing computer chips in the U.S. and additional money for scientific and technological research into areas such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing. But while partisans share concerns about U.S. global standing in science, they differ in their views of the role for scientists in the policy arena, with Republicans offering much more skeptical views than Democrats. These differences over the public role for scientists are wider today than before the coronavirus outbreak, which has frequently found Republicans and Democrats at odds over science-related questions including the health threat posed by the coronavirus, the appropriate policy response to the outbreak and the effectiveness of mask wearing and COVID-19 vaccines.”
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