Around 80 percent of U.S. adults believe that the government spending on medical research, engineering and technology leads to advances that have a positive impact on society.
The nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization Pew Research Center made a study involving 2,537 people from April 23 to May 6.
The majority of Republicans and the majority of Democrats shared the same view.
Of liberal Democrats surveyed, 92 percent said government investments in basic scientific research “usually pay off in the long run.” Of conservative Republicans, 61 percent agreed.
However, that general agreement broke down when it came to private versus government spending.
Two-thirds of conservative Republicans said that private investment alone would be enough to see that scientific progress is made, compared with 22 percent of liberal Democrats.
Surveys in 2017, 2014 and 2009 by Pew had similar results in surveys asking Americans how they approve spending taxpayer dollars on science.
Some seemingly silly government-funded experiments, such as the exercising shrimp, have been singled out by politicians and others in the past as examples of wasteful spending. But appearances can be misleading. Putting the crustaceans through their paces, for example, was part of a larger project studying infection in farmed shrimp in hopes of finding treatments, according to a report by Science News.
Meanwhile, only about 20 percent of U.S. adults think that government spending on medical research, engineering and technology, and basic science isn’t worthwhile in the long run.
But when people, whether politicians or that guy in your Facebook feed, say they want to cut science funding, they won’t be speaking about science as a whole.
When politicians want to cut funding, they focus on specific controversial studies or areas, such as climate change, stem cells or genetically modified organisms.