CAPS - Harris Poll on Technology and Science

May 25, 2017

Latest Harvard CAPS – Harris Poll investigates shifting political and policy landscape in the country and the evolving public opinion on technology and society.

The latest Harvard CAPS – Harris Poll, released this week in conjunction with The Hill, sees falling approval for President Trump in May – 45 percent vs. 48 percent last month – demonstrating that weeks of controversy around the Russia-ties probe and the firing of FBI director James Comey have taken a toll on the administration. While a majority of voters (54%) generally disapprove with President Trump’s firing of the FBI director, nearly half (49%) disagree with the way that Comey was removed versus 51% who disapprove with the act of his removal.

The findings also show that 75% of voters support the hiring of a Special Counsel to handle the Russia probe, with 59% saying that the investigation will ultimately lead to the end of the Russia inquiry versus impeachment proceedings. Nearly three-quarters (73%) also feel that the Department of Justice Special Counsel should investigate the leaks of classified information and the unmasking of Americans in wiretapped investigations, in addition to investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence.

On the policy front, this month’s poll finds that while 51 percent of voters feel the Affordable Care Act is failing, 55 percent feel the proposed GOP repeal, which passed the House of Representatives earlier this month, is a step backward. A majority of voters (57%) want significant changes to the House bill to be made by the senate, with only 16 percent favoring passing the House bill in its current format.

Other findings in the study look at cyber-security and the intersection of technology and society:

· 83% voters believe an attack on financial markets likely; 78 per cent believe the power grid will be a target

· 81% say U.S. cyber defenses are too weak

· 78% believe that cyber-attacks should be banned like chemical weapons, but 73 per cent are ok with the US retaliating to unprovoked attacks by other countries

· 31% view the United States as the world’s strongest cyber power, followed by China (29%) and Russia (21%)

In general, American voters believe technology has made the world a better place to live (66% percent), and that technology makes them optimistic about the future (74%). However, a majority (54%) also believes that technology has made the world less harmonious and 67 percent believe that technology has had a negative effect on social values. 93 percent agree that technology has made it easier to bully people online.

The nationwide poll of 2,006 registered voters was conducted online by The Harris Poll in the United States between May 18-20, 2017. Full results from the poll are available HERE or at


The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll online within the United States between May 18-20, 2017 among 2,006 registered voters.

The results reflect a nationally representative sample. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, and education where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. The poll was supervised by Harvard Professor of Government and CAPS Faculty Director Stephen Ansolabehere, Mark Penn, and Dritan Nesho. Stephen Ansolabehere has 25 years experience conducting survey research and experimental research in the field of political science. Mark Penn is a former presidential pollster and has 40 years of polling experience. Dritan Nesho is a fellow at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science.

Harris Insights and Analytics conducts the poll based on online methodologies they have been using for more than a decade and the results are donated to the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University.

The results are represented as the results of the questions asked according to The Harris Poll methodology.