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SSTI poll shows overwhelming support for innovation platform

May 21, 2020

Advances in science and technology have lifted the United States out of past economic downturns, and Americans are eager for a new commitment to research and innovation to be made now. Even at the outset of unprecedented economic conditions, more than 90 percent of the electorate supported expanded efforts to strengthen the key elements of a knowledge-driven economy.

These are among the findings of a recent poll conducted by GQR and TargetPoint Consulting for SSTI.

Registered voters were asked to review a proposal to focus on converting our nation’s strength in research into new businesses and jobs, the Innovative Science & Technology for Economic Prosperity (iSTEP) initiative.

Overwhelmingly, voters view science and innovation policy as a means for improving the economy in the future, with 92 percent saying they believe it can change the American economy for the better. That support crossed party lines, gender, income, and employment status. Voters also showed strong interest in supporting a candidate that backs the iSTEP initiative, with that support holding across party lines; 78 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats said they would be more likely to support a candidate that backed the proposal.

Some of the specific program ideas that were tested with voters included: ensuring a workforce that is trained for the jobs of the future (93 percent support); programs to help turn promising research into new products, companies and jobs (89 percent support); increasing the ability of start-up companies to access early stage financing and capital (88 percent support); a partnership between the federal government with cities, states and non-profit organizations to help fund locally designed strategies that encourage the creation and growth of innovation-oriented companies (87 percent support); and, an increase in federal funding for research (87 percent support).

“Adopting policies that support innovation and have the capacity to create new opportunities for economic growth is vital to our future. The initiative’s focus on the future is part of the reason Americans embrace the policy proposals, and our elected officials need to know that voters support a long-term investment to capitalize on an economy based on science, technology and innovation,” said Dan Berglund, SSTI president and CEO.

Among specific items that Congress could approve in the short-term that would be in alignment with the iSTEP framework are:

  • Expanding the Build to Scale program at the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), which provides federal support for regional efforts to transform research into new products and to help entrepreneurs access capital;
  • Supporting innovation-focused technical assistance programs at the U.S. Small Business Administration; and,
  • Providing funds to states to facilitate entrepreneurs’ access to capital.

For more information on the poll, the survey results from the polling headquarters may be accessed here, and the polling numbers may be found here.

ssti, policy, innovation, poll