Voters Want Candidates To Debate Science, Not Faith Or Values

A new national public opinion poll found that even religious voters are tired of Presidential candidates harping about religion. Contrary to claims that Republicans and religiously affiliated voters are becoming “anti-science,” a study commissioned by shows that 82 percent of Catholics and 83 percent of Protestants want to hear candidates for president debate the major science challenges facing the United States, rather than issues of faith or values.

Respondents ranked science third in importance as a presidential debate theme, ahead of the environment, and far ahead of faith and values, which 49 percent of Catholics and 59 percent of Protestants rated as important, but below the economy and taxes, and national security, which ranked one and two respectively.

Science Debate By Voter

Even though the general environment didn’t emerge as a front runner for voter concern, alternative energy did. Fifty-three percent of all likely US voters ranked developing alternative energy as a top US spending priority, second only to paying down the federal deficit. This is about twice the number of voters that think the government is not spending enough on national defense or space exploration. Funding science and math education came in fourth, just behind investing in roads and bridges, and scientific research was fifth.

Funny, I don’t remember alternative energy, education, or scientific research being a component of any of the many debates that have taken place during the GOP primaries. Except for that weird moon colony thing.

An even more encouraging result of the study indicated that respondents – both overall and among Catholics and Protestants – think public policies should be based on the best available science and not the personal opinions or beliefs of elected officials, said cofounder Shawn Lawrence Otto, who said the views could have an impact on major science-driven policies such as whether and how to address climate change. Eighty-one percent of Republican voters also said it is inappropriate for elected officials to hold back or interfere with scientific reports that conflict with their own views, along with seventy-five percent of Democrats.

Both parties claim to have the best interests of the people at heart. Unfortunately, they continually fail to listen to the people, who are desperately trying to tell them what those interests are! The push to return America to its “religious roots” isn’t what the people have asked for. What they have asked for is a country that prioritizes science-based education, innovation, and policy. America should be a country where religious affiliation doesn’t matter. Literally. Listen up candidates, we don’t care which god you worship or who you sleep with. We realize that so many of the most serious problems the country is facing revolve around science, that science is itself an American value, and we want to know what you’re going to do about it.

More details of the methodology, together with results of the entire poll, can be found here (PDF).

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Image via Thinkstock


Ken W.
Ken W5 years ago

Its so sad !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Arild Warud

Better listen to the voters.

Ron B.
Ron B5 years ago

Hmmm...the voters of WHICH country are we talking about here? In the US, if you can believe the polls, the majority of people here believe in the existence of angels. More people believe in angels than in global warming. Science sounds like an intelligent subject to place high in the rankings, but how many people even have a clue as to what science is really all about? Maybe this poll is accurate after all. Let's hope so.

Lauren B.

Blah blah blah re: candidates debating religion. Don't we know better? Let's judge their characters by their behavior and their record. Their religion is none of our business! And what people say believe or embrace isn't necessarily what we see. And since when does it make sense for politicians to debate science, either? How about public policy instead.

Adam G.
Adam G5 years ago

a debate on science would be good, but first the the repugnants would have to learn what that is.
hint: it's NOT "creationism" or "intelligent design".

Christopher C.
Chris C5 years ago

Steve R said: "No wonder there is very little common decency left in America any more..."

Because Steve, you're still here?!? MOVE! Go back to S. Africa! We need the fresh air!!

Bartley Deason
Bartley Deason5 years ago

Hey, Steve R.!
Is Jeffery W. a brother of yours?

Joan S.
Joan S5 years ago

I am just extremely tired of the fact that religion continues to be an issue in the elections and our government. You do not need religion to have values and just because you claim to be religious does not mean you have values. Not all science is absolute but I thing it's brought us better things than most religions have.

Marianne C.
Marianne C5 years ago

Steve R:

Please continue to use your comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data, rejection of established fact, aptitude for repeating already discredited memes, and lack of respect for scientific and medical realities.

Be sure to additionally create an ample supply of straw men, and to argue against things that have neither been said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated, as they tend to grant so much credibility to your opining. Diligently maintain right wing vitriol as your only consistency.

By all means direct your abusive malice and free-floating rage toward those who you imagine cannot or will not respond in kind. Continue to attack religion and science just as if you had even the most limited grasp on what they are.

And naturally, kindly forgo any attempt at intellect or civility in your discourse.

You are, after all, a troll, and we expect nothing less of you than to behave like one.

Tim R.
Tim Ra5 years ago

I would say I'm on the side of science over dogmatic, religious values. Science, however, does come with a lot of trial and error before perfection is achieved. And when put into the hands of people with poor moral values, it can be down-right dangerous (atomic bomb anyone?). Therefore, yes, it scares the living hell out of me when candidates spew their moral, religious values on me as though I'm supposed to be comfortable with it. In my opinion, it is those exact candidates that can make science very dangerous and destructive. Caring little for the environment or claiming global climate change is fake is like playing with fire; eventually you're going to get burned. Science is based of facts and not some dogmatic values and old stories that can barley be proved. So yes, give me - I mean give US! - a candidate that keeps his/her faith personal and private the way it should be! Oh, and folks, I realize texting on a cell-phone is great science, but not when you're driving. ;-)