'Americans split if US will be science leader under Trump'

'Americans split if US will be science leader under Trump'

 Americans are split on whether the US will be seen as the global leader in science and innovation under President Donald Trump, with 41 per cent agreeing, 40 per cent disagreeing and 19 per cent not sure, according to a new survey.

Those in agreement include a strong majority of Republicans (70 per cent) compared to Independents (34 per cent) and Democrats (19 per cent), the survey commissioned by Research!America found.

When asked if great strides in science and innovation will continue while Trump is President, opinions were also divided (46 per cent agree, 33 per cent disagree and 22 per cent not sure), with more Republicans (74 per cent) than Independents (44 per cent) and Democrats (22 per cent) agreeing.

In a separate question, more than half of Americans (54 per cent) say strengthening ability to fight public health threats and investing in medical research (50 per cent) should be a priority for Trump's and Congress' first 100 days in office.

This was compared to other national issues including reducing health care costs (76 per cent), growing jobs (73 per cent), fighting terrorism (65 per cent) and expanding access to health coverage (64 per cent).

"It is noteworthy that respondents across party lines agree with putting research to work and paying more in taxes to support medical research; at the same time, it is not surprising that Republicans are significantly more confident in President Trump's leadership," said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, a not-for-profit market research firm.

More than two-thirds of Americans (67 per cent) said that public policies should be based on the best available science, with 61 per cent saying it is important for Congress to provide tax incentives to the private sector to develop new medicines and medical technologies.

In addition, a majority of Americans agree that scientists should play a major role in shaping policy over a wide range, including the environment (75 per cent), education (58 per cent), roads, bridges and other infrastructure (55 per cent), national defence (51 per cent), and at the highest percentage, for medical and health research (83 per cent).

"Americans recognise that science is fundamental to so many priorities that matter," said Woolley.

When it comes to the health topics, a majority of respondents said the US government should play a role in ensuring that existing medical treatments are safe and effective (75 per cent).

They also suggest the government should identify new ways to prevent illness and disabling conditions (63 per cent), working to prevent and respond to global health threats like Ebola (60 per cent) and ensure that research is supported adequately to speed medical progress (60 per cent).

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