Survey: US Residents Unsure of Future of Innovation

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U.S. residents are unsure about the country's ability to remain a top innovator and the U.S. government needs to take steps to ensure its leadership, a major tech trade group said Tuesday.

Many U.S. residents say that other countries provide a more innovation-friendly environment, according to a survey conducted by polling firm Zogby International and released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

Asked about the economic future of the U.S. over the next decade, only 13 percent of the 3,000 survey respondents agreed with the statement that the U.S. "will remain the most innovative country and therefore the global economic leader."

Forty-five percent of those responding said the U.S. will lose ground as the "clear-cut" innovation leader, but will remain at the top, and 36 percent said the U.S. would lose its advantage to other countries.

Asked what nation has the best environment for innovation, 30 percent of respondents said Japan, and 15 percent said China. Twenty-one percent said the U.S.

CEA on Tuesday rolled out a new campaign, called the Innovation Movement, focused on bringing consumers and tech companies together to push for innovation-friendly policies in the U.S. government.

"Innovation is the best solution to the economic challenges we face," said Gary Shapiro, CEA's president and CEO. "Our citizens are worried that we will lose our global economic and technology leadership."

The Innovation Movement will push for free-trade agreements, copyright laws with balanced rights between consumers and copyright owners, and broadband deployment to rural and other unserved areas, Shapiro said in a speech. Shapiro also said broadband providers should not block or degrade consumers' access to Web applications and content, but stopped short of saying new net-neutrality laws are needed.

Shaprio also focused on immigration reform during part of the speech. "Innovation stems from attracting the brightest people in the world," he said. "Our policies should attract, rather than discourage, intellectual capital."

Another goal for the group is a major reduction in the U.S. budget deficit, he said. "Let's not sugarcoat it: Our rising national deficit is an obstacle to a sound economic future," Shapiro said. "The federal deficit is a lead weight, which will increasingly be a drag on the U.S. economy."

Asked about the U.S. debt, 63 percent of the Zogby survey respondents said it will have a "major effect" on the ability of the U.S. to remain a world economic leader. Another 29 percent said it would have "some effect."

Zogby also asked those taking the survey whether they believed the U.S. educational system was the most equipped in the world to develop innovation leaders during the next 30 years. Seventy-three percent said they somewhat or strongly disagreed.

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