Nearly a third of attendees at the March for Science last weekend were at their first political or issue protest, one-fifth work outside of the sciences, and most say, whether you believe them or not, that U.S. President Donald Trump was not their primary reason for gathering, an online poll conducted by ScienceInsider indicates.
Several research teams braved the chill and rain to conduct formal scientific surveys of people attending the Washington, D.C., March for Science, but ScienceInsider stayed in our cozy offices and invited the marchers to come to us and tell us where and why they took to the streets. Nearly 1600 people accepted that invite, filling out a short online survey that we ran from the start of the New Zealand march—Friday night U.S. time—through Tuesday afternoon.
Such internet polls are always difficult to decipher, warn social scientists, not least because they draw a nonrandom response. “You just have a bunch of people who care a whole lot about the issue, or what could be called a self-selected biased sample based on convenience.” cautioned sociologist Dana Fisher of the University of Maryland in College Park, who conducted one of the Washington, D.C., surveys, in an email. “The findings CANNOT be generalized to participants at any one March 4 Science or to the population of participants as a whole (or to the samples that we collected since our sampling methodology was very different and was used to be able to attempt to collect a random sample of participants).”