July 1, 2015

Major Gaps Between the Public, Scientists on Key Issues

Despite broadly similar views about the overall place of science in America, there are striking differences between the views of the public and those of the scientific community connected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on a host of science-related issues, from whether genetically modified foods are safe to eat to whether the world’s growing population will be a major problem. See how their views differ by clicking on the topics below.

Despite broadly similar views about the overall place of science in America, there are striking differences between the views of the public and those of the scientific community connected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on a host of science-related issues, from whether genetically modified foods are safe to eat to whether the world’s growing population will be a major problem. See how their views differ by clicking on the topics below.

U.S. adults
AAAS members
0% 100%
Safe to eat genetically modified foods
37%
88%
51 point gap
Safe to eat
Unsafe to eat
Favor use of animals in research
47
89
42
Pro
Con
Safe to eat foods grown with pesticides
28
68
40
Pro
Con
The earth is getting warmer mostly because of human activity
50
87
37
Pro
Con
Humans and other living things have evolved over time
65
33
Pro
Con
Growing world population will be a major problem
59
82
23
Pro
Con
Favor building more nuclear power plants to generate electricity
45
65
20
Pro
Con
Favor more offshore oil and gas drilling in the U.S.
32
52
20
Pro
Con
Childhood vaccines, such as MMR, should be required
68
86
18
Pro
Con
Astronauts are essential for the future of the U.S. space program
47
59
12
Pro
Con
Favor increased use of bioengineered fuel to create a gasoline replacement
68
78
10
Pro
Con
Favor increased use of fracking
31
39
8
Pro
Con
The Space Station has been a good investment for the U.S.
64
68
4
Pro
Con

Survey of U.S. adults Aug. 15-25, 2014. AAAS survey Sept. 11-Oct. 13, 2014. For exact question wording, refer to the topline questionnaire. Whites and blacks include only non-Hispanics; Hispanics are of any race.