US President Barack Obama may be faltering in the general polls, but not so among his fellow Nobel laureates.
In an open letter, 68 winners of the Nobel Prize in the scientific fields are throwing their support firmly behind the president — who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 — saying he has "renewed our faith in science-based decision making and …championed investment in science and technology research that is the engine of our economy."
In contrast, Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for president and former governor of Massachusetts, whom the letter never identifies by name, "supports a budget that, if implemented, would devastate a long tradition of support for public research and investment in science at a time when this country's future depends, as never before, on innovation.
"He has also taken positions that privilege ideology over clear scientific evidence on climate change," the letter adds.
Romney, while acknowledging that the world is getting warmer and that human beings contribute to the warming trend, also says that science is still unclear about the reasons behind global warming and more research needs to be done.
Among the signatures on the letter are those of this year's Nobel winners in chemistry, Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University and Brian Kobilka of Stanford University. "I feel the Obama administration has been doing a good job of supporting basic research given the restraints of the economy," Kobilka tells The New York Times.
While he says that he isn't sure what Romney would do as president, the choice of Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate worries him. Ryan proposed a budget as chairman of the House Budget Committee that could slash funding for the National Institutes of Health.
"I think it's important for the country for us to keep funding basic research, and that's why I signed on," Kobilka says.
In 2008, when Obama ran against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for the White House, 61 Nobel science winners signed a similar letter endorsing Obama, the Times reports. One of the signers of that letter, Martin Chalfie who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2008, organized this year's letter.
"As a nation we must continue the investment that revolutionized agriculture, invented the Internet, gave us modern medicine, and enabled a strong national defense," the letter says. "Abandoning this tradition would be a devastating step backwards. If you believe, as we do, that America's future is bound in essential ways to science and innovation, we urge you to join us in working to ensure the reelection of President Obama."