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Infographic – Partisan Split Remains on Research Spending

Party differences on research spending

Click on image for full size view (Pew Research Center)

21 Sept. 2019. While public support overall in the U.S. for federal spending on science is increasing, a sharp and continuing difference between the political parties emerged as well. More Democrats say they’re in favor of increased federal spending on scientific research than Republicans, a gap that began in 2010, according to the Pew Research Center, and continues today.

Pew Research Center reported the data earlier this month, and are shown in this weekend’s infographic on Science & Enterprise. Overall, about half of Americans polled in March 2019 (52%) favor more federal spending for scientific research, while 31 percent want to keep spending at current levels and 14 percent favor less spending on science. Since 2010, percentages of Americans in favor of more federal dollars going to scientific research are growing, while those preferring the same or fewer dollars spent on science are generally in decline.

When examining these opinions broken down by political preferences, however, sharp differences emerge. Beginning in 2001, about four in 10 Americans favored increased federal spending on scientific research, with barely any difference between Republicans and Democrats. By 2013, however, nearly half of Democrats, and independents leaning toward Democrats (46%), wanted more spending on science, while only a quarter of Republicans and like-minded independents (25%) favored increased research spending.

By this year, percentages of people favoring more spending on science increased in both parties, and among their independent allies. Now, more than six in 10 Democrats (62%) want more federal scientific research spending, as do four in 10 Republicans (40%), but the sizable decade-long partisan gap remains.

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