According to a new poll done by Research!America and ScienceDebate.org, a full 87% of Americans want a president with a basic understanding of the science that affects issues of public policy.
Overall, polling service Zogby Analytics asked over 1,000 American adults to answer questions on how scientifically informed they want their candidates to be, among other things. In response to the query, "How important do you think it is that candidates for President and Congress have a basic understanding of the science informing public policy issues?" 59% of respondents said "very important," and 28% said "somewhat important." Only 2% said "not important at all," and 3% said "not very important."
Democrats generally felt more strongly on the issue than their Republican and Independent counterparts, but not by much:
Respondents also answered that they don't think science should be treated as a partisan issue:
For the most part, people thought of health care, energy and the environment as the most noteworthy issues in science:
President and CEO Research!America Mary Woolley said in a statement that "this new poll shows how important science is to Americans and their quality of life. It is time for candidates to articulate their vision for maintaining America’s leadership in science.”
Politicians, however, have not historically been great at understanding basic science. Last year, members of Congress asked non-scientific questions during an astrobiology hearing, and this year's Republican candidates are often wrong when discussing women's reproductive health. And then there's climate change (also known as climate science).
We hope you're paying attention, candidates.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.