A Pew Institute-AAAS survey is in the news; Pew's summary of the survey conclusions is online, very readable, and doesn't seem to make the obvious misrepresentations I've seen in the press accounts.
There are indications that the public also is somewhat less confident in Americas scientific prowess than it once was. Significantly fewer Americans volunteer scientific advances as one of the countrys most important achievements than did so a decade ago (27% today, 47% in May 1999). As an example, ten years ago, 18% cited space exploration and the moon landing as the countrys top achievement of the 20th century. Today 12% see it as the greatest achievement of the past 50 years.
This isn't too alarming: The only "achievement" that went up over that period was "civil rights/equal rights", which may well be a fair replacement in the minds of most of the public.
Finding that most surprised me: Scientists are half again as likely as the public to think that government programs are efficiently run.