Public Release:  Few Americans know where elected officials and candidates stand on government support for research

Research!America and partners launch national voter education initiative

Research!America

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--April 8, 2014--Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say it's important for candidates running for office to assign a high priority to funding medical research, according to America Speaks, Volume 14, a compilation of key questions from public opinion polls commissioned by Research!America. Polling shows that Americans place a high value on U.S. leadership in medical innovation, yet only 12% say they are very well informed about the positions of their senators and representative when it comes to their support of medical and scientific research. http://www.researchamerica.org/poll_summary.

To help close this knowledge gap, Research!America and partner organizations are launching a national voter education initiative, Ask Your Candidates! Is Medical Research Progress a Priority? Through online and grassroots activities, social media strategies and on-the-ground events, congressional candidates will be urged to share their views on government policies and support for medical innovation conducted in both the public and private sectors. http://www.askyourcandidates.org.

"Candidates must do a better job articulating their vision for medical progress, clarifying what level of priority they assign to research as a way to assure improved health, well-being and economic security of all Americans," said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. "Voters need to know whether their candidates view lifesaving medical research as an imperative or an afterthought."

During election season, Americans want candidates to talk about medical progress. Nearly three-quarters (74%) say it's important to know whether their candidates for Congress are supportive of medical and scientific research. Notably, more than half of respondents (53%) do not believe elected officials in Washington are paying enough attention to combating the many deadly diseases that afflict Americans.

In other polling in America Speaks:

  • 61% of Americans agree that the federal government must increase investments in medical and health research now to ensure that the U.S. can compete globally.
  • 48% say we are not making enough progress in medical research in the U.S.
  • 80% say it's important that our nation supports research that focuses on improving how our health care system is functioning.
  • 73% believe the federal government should assign a higher priority to improving education focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics and careers in those fields.
  • 43% would be willing to pay $1 per week more in taxes if they were certain that all of the money would be spent on additional medical research.
  • 75% say investing in research is important to job creation and economic recovery.

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The publication of America Speaks, Volume 14, is made possible through a contribution from the American Medical Association. Visit http://www.researchamerica.org/poll_summary.

About Research!America Polls

Research!America began commissioning polls in 1992 in an effort to understand public support for medical, health and scientific research. The results of Research!America's polls have proven invaluable to our alliance of member organizations and, in turn, to the fulfillment of our mission to make research to improve health a higher national priority. In response to growing usage and demand, Research!America has expanded its portfolio, which includes state, national and issue-specific polling. Poll data is available by request or at http://www.researchamerica.org.

About Research!America

Research!America is the nation's largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations representing 125 million Americans. Visit http://www.researchamerica.org.

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