It seems we can stop worrying about science literacy when it comes to the American public.
Well, wait there, not so fast.
But a recent survey of 1,000 adults by the Rasmussen Reports polling organization says that two-out-of-three Americans “feel they are more informed today than they were 10 years ago” despite the ongoing content and survival struggles among newspaper and broadcast news organizations.
[One wonders: How many can name at least one of their senators? How many their representative in the U.S. House? How many know there is no sprawling controversy among responsible scientists on fundamentals of climate change — that warming is happening, and that humans are substantially, but not entirely, responsible? But we digress.]
Only 8 percent say they are less well informed than they were 10 years ago, and another 22 percent said they’re holding steady.
Nothing in the Rasmussen survey deals specifically with science and certainly not with climate change, but it may shed some light on what Americans are thinking in these difficult economic times about their level of familiarity with things occurring in the nation and world.
“Women are more confident than men that they are better informed now,” Rasmussen reported, perhaps suggesting that women indeed are better informed than men.
Forty-four percent of the adults surveyed told Rasmussen that the Internet is the best way to get news and information. Television comes in second, at 36 percent, and print newspapers third with 11 percent saying they view them as the best source for news and information. Not mentioned in the report, however, is that many of the leading internet information and news sites in fact originate with newspapers and are largely or wholly dependent on them.
Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed said the Internet is the most reliable source of credible news information. A plurality, 40 percent, said broadcast news is the most reliable source, with 21 percent opting for newspapers
Rasmussen said its survey of 1,000 adults was conducted on September 15-16, 2010. It pointed to a margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.