White House hopefuls had better bone up on their whiz-kid facts. A new Harris poll shows that 85 percent of Americans say the presidential candidates should stage a debate on how science can solve America’s problems, with almost no differences in opinion among Republicans and Democrats.
Overall, more than three-fourths of the respondents rated health care the most serious concern, followed by alternative-energy sources (69 percent), education (67 percent) and national security (61 percent) — with climate change in last place at 53 percent.
That brought out the partisan split, though, with 66 percent of Democrats ranking global-warming issues among the most serious problems, compared with 33 percent of Republicans.
“This topic has been virtually ignored by the candidates. We’ve heard a lot about lapel pins and preachers. But tackling the big science challenges is critical,” said Shawn Lawrence Otto, chairman of Science Debate 2008, an initiative among scientists who want the presidential debate to include some science and technology.
The survey of 1,003 adults was taken May 2-5, with a margin of error of three percentage points.