THE POLLS-Trends - Americans' Trust in Science and Scientists

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Events such as the 2017 "March for Science" have brought greater attention to public attitudes toward science and scientists. Our analyses of recent poll data show that Americans' confidence in scientists has been high for roughly 40 years (relative to other institutions), and that it is high even for controversial topics such as global warming and nuclear energy. International comparisons show broad similarities with individuals in Germany and the UK, including that trust in scientists can fluctuate depending on who employs them and what topic is under discussion. Finally, more granular analyses in the United States reveal large divides in trust based on geographic location and religious identification (i.e., rural residents exhibit comparatively low trust and the nonreligious comparatively high trust), while the gap between political partisans has been relatively small but has spiked in recent years.




Krause, N. M., Brossard, D., Scheufele, D. A., Xenos, M. A., & Franke, K. (2019). THE POLLS-Trends - Americans’ Trust in Science and Scientists. Public Opinion Quarterly, 83(4), 817–836.

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