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Trust in Scientists on Rise, Mostly

Public trust in scientists is increasing in the US, NPR reports. But, as Wired notes, the level of that trust varies by individuals' political affiliation and scientific knowledge.

According to new Pew Research Center poll, 86 percent of US adults have at least "a fair amount" of confidence that scientists act in the public interest. That, the pollsters say, is higher than their confidence in elected officials or religious leaders and is even higher than their view of the military or school principals. It's also higher than in years past, as, in 2016, 76 percent of US adults said they had such confidence in scientists.

But report co-author Cary Funk from the Pew Research Center tells NPR that this "tends to be kind of a soft support."

Wired notes that people who identified as Republicans had less confidence in the scientific method and scientists' conclusions than those who identified as Democrats. Additionally, Democrats with a higher scientific knowledge were more likely to say they have a high degree of confidence in the scientific method, while there was a less pronounced distinction among Republican respondentsby scinetific knowledge.

Both Republicans and Democrats with higher scientific knowledge, though, were concerned about biases that may affect scientists' conclusions, the Guardian reports, noting that such worries were higher among Republicans.