When pollsters pit the economy versus the environment, the environment will always lose. But when polls are designed to get a feel for the public's opinion on issues pertaining to energy, environment, science—without necessarily pitting those issues in direct opposition to economic issues—a more nuanced reality is uncovered.
Among the findings of a new poll (PDF) measuring attitudes about science, faith and public policy are those that show US voters of all faiths want to see more science in the presidential debate.
Commissioned by ScienceDebate.org, the poll found that large majorities, 82 percent of Catholics and 83 percent of Protestants, say it is more important that the candidates for president debate the major science challenges facing the United States than it is they debate faith and values.
You may remember that presidential candidates in 2008 refused to participate in a nationally televised science debate, opting instead for "faith forums." But wide majorities of voters of faith think the candidates for president should attend a science debate.
The poll also found that US voters want to see more science in public policy making and less meddling with science by elected officials.
A large majority, including 81 percent of Republicans, also said it is inappropriate for elected officials to block or interfere with scientific reports that conflict with their own views.
“Basing public policies on science instead of beliefs or opinions is clearly of great importance to large majorities of Americans,” said ScienceDebate.org co-founder Shawn Lawrence Otto.
“Even though we often hear of faith opposing science in the political arena, these findings show that that perception isn’t necessarily true," Otto added.