In this brief, author Lawrence Hamilton examines the results of a Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center in late January–early February 2014. The poll asked about public trust in scientists, along with other questions on science, political, and social issues that help to place the science-trust results in perspective. Almost two-thirds of New Hampshire residents surveyed say that they trust scientists to provide accurate information about environmental issues. Only 12 percent do not trust scientists to provide this information. Wide disparities occur along party lines, however, regarding this and other questions about science. The 53 percent gap between Democrats and Republicans on climate change is one of the largest for any issue. Trust in scientists shows a somewhat narrower Democrat–Republican gap (37 percent), which is larger than those for historically divisive social issues such as abortion or the death penalty. Answers to these survey questions also relate to respondents’ news media sources, even after statistical adjustments for political party, age, gender and education. People who often listen to New Hampshire Public Radio are more likely to say they trust scientists, and respond differently from other New Hampshire residents on several other science-related questions. People who often watch local television news or read newspapers, on the other hand, respond differently on questions about the death penalty or gun control.
Issue Brief No. 40
Durham, N.H. : Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire
Hamilton, Lawrence, "Do You Trust Scientists About the Environment?" (2014). The Carsey School of Public Policy at the Scholars' Repository. Paper 213.
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