Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society
Pew Research Center
[State Impact] A new survey out this week from the Pew Research Center finds scientists have a more negative view of fracking than the general public.
Among scientists, 31 percent favor the increased use of fracking, while a majority– 66 percent– are opposed. The general public is slightly more positive, 39 percent of adults favor it, while about half (51 percent) are opposed.
The phone survey included 2,002 adults nationwide, as well as 3,748 U.S.-based members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.
The scientists’ views about fracking vary across different disciplines. More than half of the engineers surveyed support more fracking (53 percent), while just 25 percent to scientists in the biological and medical fields favor it. Earth scientists fall in the middle– 42 percent favor it.
The survey reveals other divides between scientists and the public on energy issues. About half the public attributes climate change to human activity, compared to 87 percent of scientists.
Less than half the public supports building more nuclear power plants (45 percent) while 65 percent of scientists favor doing so.
The public is more likely to support increased offshore drilling (52 percent), while scientists are less enthusiastic– only 32 percent favor expanding it.