A new poll conducted by health-research organization Research!America shows that about half of Americans think another country will surpass the US in healthcare, science, and technology prowess by the year 2020, reports ScienceInsider's Michael Price. "Of the 1,005 likely voters polled, 47 percent said they thought the United States would lead the world in healthcare by 2020 … while 18 percent speculated that it would be the European Union. The rest of the responses split among China, India, and Brazil," Price says. "Only 42 percent said they thought the United States would retain its position as the world leader in science and technology by 2020, while 26 percent predicted China would assume that mantle, and 23 percent chose India." At the Research!America forum where the poll's results were presented, researchers and policymakers said the public's perception of the US as a "dwindling science powerhouse" is caused by lawmakers that are lowering science budgets or keeping them flat, unlike other nations, which are increasing their science budgets, Prince adds.
US National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins added that if another project like the sequencing of the human genome came along today, he doubted the US would be bold enough to take it on. But, Collins also said that it's not too late to reverse this trend.