While the economy and the War take the top spots for American voters’ concerns in the 2008 election season, there’s a topic that touches every citizen that is getting short-shrift: science, and its relationships to health.

85% of Americans want a Presidential debate on the role of science in meeting the nation’s major challenges, according to a poll by Research!America and ScienceDebate2008.com. This is an area with no Democrat/Republican gap. A majority of people want to know how science would inform the Presidential candidates’ policy making.

Those “major challenges” that science could impact include health care, energy, education, national security, global competition, poverty and climate change.

Two in 3 Americans believe scientific research has contributed to their quality of life today, and even more — 72% — foresee that science will positively impact the future. Health care is the #1 area where science will improve quality of life, according to the poll.

On the methodology points: the poll was conducted by Harris Interactive in early May 2008 among 1,003 adults age 18 and over.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: According to Craig Barrett, Chairman of Intel and a partner in Research!America, “This is not a niche debate. Without the best education system and aggressive investments in basic research and development we will become a second rate economic power.”
The alliance

Research!America comprises some 500 science-based organizations, ranging from academic medical centers (such as Harvard, Hopkins and Mayo), business (with bedfellows like including UnitedHealth, Big Pharma companies, and the ONE campaign), not-for-profits (the AARP, amFAR, and NORD, among others), professional societies, state and local governments, and foundations.

Clearly the issue of science, and science funding, is all about Us.