Trust in science down; trends worst in minorities, Republicans

A woman adjusts a microscope while taking notes on a clipboard.

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On Tuesday, the Pew Research Center released its latest look at how the US public views scientists and the scientific endeavor. While recent years have shown a decline in the public’s trust in science, these could be viewed as a return to normalcy after a spike in positive feelings during the pandemic’s peak. But this year’s data shows the decline has continued, creating a decline that has now taken us below pre-pandemic levels of trust.

The drop is most pronounced for self-identified Republicans and those without a college education. Despite the decline, however, scientists rank among the most trusted occupations in the US.

A trust deficit

The data used by Pew comes from a survey of nearly 9,000 participants, which provides a margin of error of just ±1.6 percentage points. For some of the individual questions, Pew has been gathering data since at least 2016, allowing it to spot trends in the public’s views. It also has data from all of the pandemic years, including two polls done during 2020, making it easier to spot how that event influenced perceptions of science.

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Author: John Timmer. [Source Link (*), Ars Technica – All content]


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