Mike the Mad Biologist

Some Polling Data About Science Funding

By way of a post about the popularity of healthcare, I came across some polling results from a survey that asked people whether funding for various things should increase, decrease, or stay the same. The results:


budgetpreferences
(click to embiggen)

I suppose the good news is science funding is middle of the pack. And I suppose the bad news is science funding is middle of the pack. Of course, this has to be taken with a boulder of salt, since it’s not clear that respondents have any idea how much is really spent–that is, respondents could be basing their answers on complete false notions of spending levels (people always think we spend 10-100 times more on foreign aid than we actually do).

So, are these data discouraging or encouraging? (And if that’s not a Rorschach Blot, I don’t know what is…).

Comments

  1. #1 JohnV
    July 24, 2009

    I thought it interesting that, overall, people didn’t want to reduce spending on anything. Only one item, poor people in other countries, even had a plurality in favor of reducing spending (34 to 33 reducing vs keeping it the same).

    That’s great and all, but probably explains some of our budget issues :p

  2. #2 NewEnglandBob
    July 24, 2009

    But look at it this way: since 40% say “keep it the same” then 79% are actually “on our side” with only 14% calling for a decrease. I always have a hard time understanding “unsure” selections in surveys like this.

  3. #3 Edward
    July 24, 2009

    A number of years back, I saw a poll where people were asked how they would divide up the budget pie for Defense, Education, Research, Social Welfare, etc. I think the categories were fewer in number and slightly more broad than the above. I remember that both education and research both wound up with a MUCH bigger part of the pie than they really get. The only area that got a lot less was defense/military spending. Apparently even many hawks didn’t realize how much of the budget goes there.

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