Poll: NY residents split on biotechnology in food and agriculture

er two groups. They are less likely to pay attention to news on science and biotechnology, are less aware of or informed about biotechnology issues and have fewer years of achieved education.

Proponents of biotechnology tend to be male and ideologically moderate. They pay more attention to news about science and biotechnology, are aware of or informed about the subject and have more years of achieved education.

About half of the undecideds are male and half are female. They are the least aware of or informed about the issues, compared with opponents or proponents. However, of the three groups they have the most years of achieved education.

The special-topics survey is part of a research initiative funded by the Cornell Institute for Biotechnology and Life Science Technologies that is examining New York state residents' knowledge, interest and opinions about biotechnology in agriculture and food production, as well as news coverage of the topic in local media. According to Steve Kresovich, director of that institute, the goal in sponsoring this research is "to understand better how the people of New York perceive the impact of new technologies on sustainable agriculture."

The study was commissioned by James Shanahan, associate professor of communications at Cornell, who comments: "While media coverage of agricultural biotechnology has lessened overall, some people do still hold reservations. At the same time, the predicted avalanche of public rejection of biotechnology has not materialized. The calmer tone of discourse surrounding biotechnology creates a better environment in which to discuss benefits and drawbacks."

Kresovich adds: "The survey findings suggest that the general public may need to see more benefits to human health and the environment before it may be willing to accept products of the technology. As such, this information helps us plan future activities."

Those survey results from the 2003 Empire State Poll are based on 8

Contact: Linda Myers
Cornell University News Service

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