We included in our statistical analysis standard demographic variables that may relate to public opinion of agricultural gene drive applications. The following variables were provided by GfK (not asked in survey instrument): Female is coded 1 = “female” and 0 = “male” (51.8% female). Age is measured in years (M = 50.7, SD = 16.2, and weighted mean = 47.3). For race, White is coded 1 = “white” and 0 = “otherwise” (64.0% white). GfK provides up to 21 levels for income, coded 1 = “less than $5,000,” 2 = “$5,000 to $7,499,” 3 = “$7,500 to $9,999,” 4 = “$10,000 to $12,499,” 5 = “$12,500 to $14,999,” 6 = “$15,000 to $19,999,” 7 = “$20,000 to $24,999,” 8 = “$25,000 to $29,999,” 9 = “$30,000 to $34,999,” 10 = “$35,000 to $39,999,” 11 = “$40,000 to $49,999,” 12 = “$50,000 to $59,999,” 13 = “$60,000 to $74,999,” 14 = “$75,000 to $84,999,” 15 = “$85,000 to $99,999,” 16 = “$100,000 to $124,999,” 17 = “$125,000 to $149,999,” 18 = “$150,000 to $174,999,” 19 = “$175,000 to $199,999,” 20 = “200,000 to $249,000,” and 21 = “$250,000 or more” (median = 13).

We collected additional education information at a more granular level than the standard GfK-provided indicators to examine the potential importance of an undergraduate and graduate education with a topic as potentially complex as gene drives. The base level was “no college” (40.0%). Next, separate variables were coded for Some college as 1 = “some college” and 0 = “otherwise” (28.6% some college), Bachelor Degree as 1 = “bachelors” and 0 = otherwise (17.8% bachelor), and Graduate Degree as 1 = “masters” or “PhD” and 0 = otherwise (13.7% graduate). While not part of the GfK-supplied demographic information, Religiosity, or “how much guidance does religion provide in your everyday life?”, has been shown to affect U.S. public opinion on some human genome–editing applications (40). This variable was measured on an 11-point scale from 0 = “No guidance at all” to 10 = “A great deal of guidance” (M = 6.32, SD = 3.68, and weighted mean = 6.41).

As gene drive insect applications in agriculture are inherently focused on commercial food products, consumer characteristics are a key focus for public opinion research. In the explanation of potential drive applications, both a major soft berry pest (spotted wing Drosophila) and a major citrus pest (Asian citrus psyllid) were discussed. Therefore, consumers of berries and citrus may have viewed a gene drive insect as more personally beneficial to reduce damage to consumed products, or, perhaps, more threatening since the gene drive insect may interact with their food. We ask respondents whether their household purchased several fruit and juice products in the last 6 months, including fresh blueberries and orange juice. Household buys blueberries and Household buys O.J. are each coded 1 = “yes” and 0 = “no” (blueberries, 56.8% yes; O.J., 70.4% yes). Primary Shopper is coded 1 = yes and 0 = no (79.1% yes). Last, specialty consumers who purchase USDA-Organic–labeled, non-GMO–labeled, or locally grown products may have distinct values about food production, which affect their support for the use of gene drive insects in agriculture. Buyers of certified organic and non-GMO–labeled foods may be particularly sensitive to the use of any genetic engineering in the food supply (17). Respondents were asked “the extent they agree or disagree with the following statements about food shopping”, including questions “I regularly purchase food labeled ‘USDA-Organic’,” “I regularly search for food labeled ‘non-GMO’ or ‘GMO-free’,” and “I regularly purchase locally grown food.” Responses were reported on a five-point scale, from 1 = “Strongly Disagree” to 5 = “Strongly Agree.” Each variable Buys USDA-Organic foods, Buys non-GMO/GMO-free labeled foods, and Buys “local” foods is coded 1 for “buys” if responding “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” and 0 otherwise (Organic, 22.7% buys; non-GMO, 21.7% searches; and local, 43.4% buys).

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