March for Science, Berlin, Germany, April 22, 2017DIANA KWONOpinions are divided about whether April’s marches for science and climate will effect political change, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this month.

Those opinions cleave along political and generational lines, the survey found. For example, 44 percent of respondents think the marches will increase public support for science, while the same percentage said the marches will make no difference. Of Democrats and democratic-leaning Independents, about 60 percent think the marches will increase support for science, and roughly the same percentage of Republicans and republican-leaning Independents anticipate the marches will have no effect. A little more than half of younger adults (ages 18 to 29) expect the marches will make a difference, while a similar percentage of senior citizens (ages 65 and older) think they will not.

“The data speak to the difficulties of making the case for science in the politically polarized environment,” Cary Funk, lead author and associate director of research at Pew Research Center, said in a press release.

Thousands participated in the March for Science March 22 in Washington DC, with more than 600 companion marches across the globe, as The Scientist reported. The Peoples Climate March drew tens of thousands to DC on March 29, the 100th day of President Trump’s term, to draw attention to climate change and protest Trump’s climate policies, The New York Times reported.

According to the survey of 1,012 participants representative of the overall US population, the majority of Democrats surveyed believe that the marches will achieve demonstrators’ goals of encouraging activism among scientists, support for government funding of science, efforts to fight climate change, and the practice of policymakers seeking expert scientific advice. Most Republicans feel that the march will not achieve those goals, the survey found.

People are split not just about whether the marches will be effective but also about whether the marches’ goals were worth pursuing.

“These survey findings show the American public is closely split in their views about the protesters’ goals—a sizeable share of the public is aligned with the protesters’ arguments but a roughly similar share are either opposed to the goals of the protesters or have yet to be convinced,” Funk continued in the release. Support, or lack thereof, for marchers’ goals also fell along political lines.

See also "Marches Sights and Signs"

See also "March for Science: Dispatches from Washington, DC"

See also "March for Science: Dispatches from Chicago"

See also "March for Science: Dispatches from Berlin"