Vote for Science: Upcoming U.S. Presidential Debates Highlight Importance of 2012 Elections

1 October 2012
AGU Science Policy Alert 12-39

From forecasting extreme weather events, to managing energy resources, to keeping water supplies safe, Americans rely on geoscientists for accurate information and timely innovation.  In order to harness science for the country’s benefit, researchers and officials in turn depend on strong presidential and congressional leadership to support basic and applied science research and the inclusion of sound science in the policymaking process.  With election season in full swing, how do candidates’ positions on these important science policy issues compare?

For a closer look at the presidential race, tune in this Wednesday, 3 October at 9 p.m. ET, when President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney face off in the first of three presidential debates.  The candidates will discuss a range of domestic policy issues, offering voters an opportunity to compare their support for funding scientific research and giving science a voice in policy decisions.  Of particular interest to geoscientists are Romney and Obama’s plans for how to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of sequestration this January, which the Office of Management and Budget estimates would cut scientific research funding by 8.2% unless Congress and the President take action.

President Obama and Governor Romney will continue their conversation and provide further insight on their stances in the next two presidential debates on 16 and 22 October, and Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan will meet for the vice presidential debate on 11 October.

Want to learn more about how geoscientists can make informed decisions when voting and get involved to support science this election season? Visit the AGU U.S. Elections website for resources such as the candidates’ positions on key science policy questions, important regional issues to consider during the U.S. election, and how to take action to support scientific research.