(NewsNation) — Fewer Americans compared to pre-pandemic years say science has had a mostly positive impact on society, according to a new Pew Research Center study.
About 57% of Americans say science has had a mostly good impact on society, down eight percentage points since November 2021 and 16 since before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The majority of American adults, about 73%, say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in scientists to act in the public’s best interest. That trust, however, is down 14 points compared to the early stages of the pandemic, according to the Pew study.
At the same time, distrust in scientists is rising. About 27% of Americans say they have “not too much” or no confidence in scientists to act in the public’s best interest. Twelve percent of Americans said the same in April 2020.
The declining levels of trust are most prominent among Republican and Republican-leaning independents. About 38% say they have not too much or no confidence at all in scientists to act in the public’s best interests.
About 14% of Republicans expressed the same views in April 2020, pointing to a dramatic shift in opinion during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, most Americans, about 78%, say government investments in scientific research are usually worthwhile for society – an opinion shared by large majorities of Democrats and Republicans alike.