A new survey reveals Americans’ conflicted opinions about the March for Science

Bill Douthitt/Science

March for Science responses split down party lines, says new Pew survey

News flash: Citizens of the United States are divided over politics. And that divisive spirit was not shaken by the tens of thousands of people who participated in last month’s March for Science, according to a new Pew research poll. The survey—of about 1000 U.S. adults several weeks after the march—found that 48% supported its goals, 26% opposed them, and 26% “don’t know” their position.

Overall, responses were split down major party lines. Sixty-eight percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents supported the goals of the march, compared with just 25% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. And though 61% of Democrats expect the marches to lead to greater public support for science, 60% of Republicans expect they’ll make no difference.

When it came to hurting public support for science, 7% of all respondents agreed the march was damaging, compared with 44% who said it would help public support and 44% who said it would make no difference. Among Americans between ages 18 and 29, the majority said the march would help raise support for government funding of science and encourage scientists to be more active in civic affairs.

The Pew Poll isn’t the last word on the march, however: Many social scientists in the United States braved the rain in Washington, D.C., and across the country to collect information on marcher party affiliations and motivations. But so far, preliminary data from those researchers are consistent with the Pew results.