The Washington Post contains an article on a recent survey by Oklahoma State University where over 80 percent of Americans support “mandatory labels on foods containing DNA,”
The Oklahoma State survey result is probably an example of the intersection between scientific ignorance and political ignorance, both of which are widespread.The most obvious explanation for the data is that most of these people don’t really understand what DNA is, and don’t realize that it is contained in almost all food. When they read that a strange substance called “DNA” might be included in their food, they might suspect that this is some dangerous chemical inserted by greedy corporations for their own nefarious purposes.
The article discusses the wider issue of scientific ignorance driving policy decisions, and there is some further comment at io9. A summary of the full survey results is available (PDF).
World plus dog fell for the DHMO hoax when it first appeared many years ago.New Zealand [nzherald.co.nz], Denmark [loc.gov], etc.
Its a common tactic for these hoaxers to ambush people on the street corner with some question like
WARNING: This product contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The Surgeon General has determined that DNA is linked to a variety of diseases in both animals and humans. In some configurations, it is a risk factor for cancer and heart disease. Pregnant women are at very high risk of passing on DNA to their children.
The big scary chemical name is as far as most people read, because 1) they don't care, 2) they don't appreciate the interruption in their business, but don't want to be rude, 3) the survey is probably done by special interest kooks, because most of these surveys are.
If the question is read to them, rather than or in addition to it being written, they are even more likely to stop listening at the big chemical name.