Quantcast

Americans’ Trust in Science Remains Strong Despite Trump’s Attacks, Study Finds

A new study led by the University of Michigan has found that Americans’ confidence in science and scientific expertise remained high during the Trump administration, despite the former president’s attacks on scientific experts.

The study analyzed data from national public opinion surveys spanning six decades and found that the proportion of Americans with a high level of trust in scientific expertise rose significantly between 2016 and 2020.

“The proportion of Americans with a low level of trust in scientific expertise rose from 3% in 2016 to 13% in 2020,” said lead researcher Jon D. Miller. “But that increase was more than matched by a rise in the proportion of Americans with a high level of trust in scientific expertise, from 23% to 58%.”

The study also found that even among conservative Republicans, the proportion with a high level of trust in scientific expertise increased more than the proportion with a low level of trust during the Trump administration. The researchers attribute this to the increased interest in science due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When people aren’t particularly interested in science, they tend not to have a high level of trust or distrust in it. But the pandemic gave everybody a new reason to be interested in science,” said co-author Mark Ackerman.

The study’s findings suggest that the American public’s appreciation for the benefits of science and technology has remained consistently high over the past six decades, with relatively low levels of apprehension about their dangers. Education, interest in science and technology, and civic scientific literacy were found to be strong predictors of appreciation for the benefits of science and technology.

“The Trump administration’s contempt for scientific and technological expertise was rightly a cause for concern, but our study shows that the American public was by and large unaffected,” Miller said. “But it will be necessary to continue to improve the public’s understanding of science and technology to ensure that it is equipped to weather any future storms.”

Study: Citizen attitudes toward science and technology, 1957-2020: Measurement, stability, and the Trump challenge

#ScienceTrust #TrumpAttacksScience #PublicOpinion #ScientificExpertise




The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.