Poll: Voters would pay higher taxes for more medical research

Public research funding has come under scrutiny as Republicans in Congress seek to pare back budgets. The "sequester" — automatic spending cuts set to take effect in January — will also hit federal research investments unless lawmakers act to stop it.

According to the poll, 77 percent of voters expressed support for federally funded research on improving the U.S. healthcare system, and 61 percent said they would back increased funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The poll also found that voters want to hear about research funding on the campaign trail: a full 90 percent of voters said candidates should speak about medical research, tax reform and public education alike.

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Research!America President Mary Woolley said that research has been given "short-shrift" by political candidates even as its funding is "at high risk."

"Deep spending cuts for government-supported research … could drastically slow the pace of discovery and development at a time when health threats are expanding in many communities," Woolley said in a statement.
 
By far, voters agreed that the cost of care is the most important health issue facing the United States. In the poll, 61 percent named costs as the country's No. 1 health concern, and obesity came in second, with 18 percent calling it the most important.

An additional 59 percent of voters said elected officials do not pay enough attention to the threats posed by deadly disease.

The survey of about 1,000 likely voters was conducted online by JZ Analytics from Aug. 14-15. It has a margin of error of three percentage points.