Public Release: 

Advocates call on all candidates running for national office to provide detailed plans on advancing research and innovation

Majorities across the political spectrum say medical research is a valued investment

Research!America

As candidates running for national office look beyond Super Tuesday, Americans across the political spectrum want to know their detailed plans to advance medical progress. While a majority of Americans (73%) agree that their health has been improved thanks to research over the course of their lifetime, and 77% say they receive value for federal dollars spent on medical research, many are not content with the status quo. More than a third (36%) say the health care they receive does not seem to be based on the best and most recent research available. These findings and more come from a new public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America.

"The platforms and talking points of the candidates do not include specifics for advancing research," said Mary Woolley, president and CEO, Research!America. "As the races continue to heat up, Americans will be pressing candidates to share their plans for putting research to work to find the solutions for a number of issues related to the health and prosperity of our nation including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and other diseases."

Health threats such as the Zika virus are concerning, afflicting individuals both here and abroad. Public health officials have expressed the need to strengthen U.S. preparedness and research to combat Zika - and inevitably other -- deadly and debilitating conditions for which there is no cure or effective treatment. An overwhelming majority of Americans (89%) say it is important that elected officials at all levels listen to advice from public health professionals, including majorities across the political spectrum, Democrats (92%), Republicans (90%) and Independents (84%).

Concerns about health threats go well beyond the Zika virus, from contaminated water in Flint Michigan to cost and access to health care. More than half of Americans (62%) agree that increasing support for health promotion and disease prevention research would help lower health care costs.

The Precision Medicine Initiative, BRAIN initiative and other innovative research projects involving both the public and private sector are likely to generate significant economic returns. A majority of Americans (89%) agree that investing in research is important to job creation, technological breakthroughs and economic growth, including Democrats (94%), Republicans (89%) and Independents (82%).

"The Human Genome Project supported thousands of jobs in the immediate, and many more as its findings spawned an on-going biotech boom leading to life-saving cures previously out of reach, clearly demonstrating the return on both public and private investments in research," added Woolley. "Cutting-edge research not only stimulates local economies, but can help to solve complex diseases in this generation and the next."

Many Americans are doubtful the U.S. will maintain its preeminence in science in just a few years. Fewer than half of survey respondents say the U.S. will be considered the number one world leader in science and technology (44%), and in health care (43%) in the year 2020. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), China is expected to surpass the U.S. in research and development spending by 2020, reflecting the views of nearly 20% of survey respondents who say China will lead in science and technology by the end of the decade.

Research!America's national voter education initiative, Campaign for Cures, encourages all candidates to share their plans to speed medical progress with voters. For more information visit http://www.campaignforcures.org (link is external). The online survey of 1,001 U.S. adults, conducted by Zogby Analytics in January 2016, has a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. To view survey results, click here.

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About Research!America Surveys

Research!America began commissioning surveys in 1992 in an effort to understand public support for medical, health and scientific research. The results of Research!America's surveys 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 surveys. Survey 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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