What is your opinion of biotechnology companies – very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable? Your opinion is probably favorable since you’re on the BIO’s web site. But, how do you think most American voters responded?
To find out the answer to that question, BIO, with the bipartisan pairing of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates (the same team that produces the respected Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll), conducted a national survey of 800 American voters to find out what they think about the biotechnology industry.
One of the most interesting findings was that during the current economic slowdown, while our elected leaders are making hard choices about our national economic priorities, a majority (53 percent) of American voters believe the federal government should support the biotechnology industry through either direct funding or beneficial tax policies.
Role of Government in Biotech
Without providing any background information, 48 percent of those surveyed had a favorable impression of the industry while only 12 percent had an unfavorable impression (the rest had no opinion). After hearing just a brief, neutral explanation of the work conducted by biotech companies, voters’ impression of our industry improves dramatically. In fact, the number of voters with a favorable impression increased to 87 percent after hearing the description - while only 11 percent had an unfavorable impression and the rest had no opinion.
The Image of Biotechnology Companies
Furthermore, the survey indicates that American voters support a continued federal commitment to biotechnology priorities such as research dedicated to finding alternative sources of energy, life-saving medicines and cures. In fact, the survey found that many of the biotechnology industry's important issues are ranked by voters as either "extremely" or "very" important - behind only the economy, education, reducing the deficit/government spending - and alongside of issues such as combating terrorism and reducing taxes.
Over three-quarters of voters (76 percent) are supportive of a continued commitment to federal spending on biotech research after hearing that the industry is working to cure diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes and Parkinson's - and that these cures can eventually help patients live longer, healthier lives, cut federal health care spending and in the process save the American budget trillions of dollars.
Overall, the survey results shed a positive light on the average American’s views of the biotechnology industry. As previously mentioned, voters rated the importance of finding cures as one of the most important issues and a majority of those voters say that it should be a top or high priority for Congress to commit to continued funding for research focused on alternative energy and finding cures for our most deadly diseases.