I work in a science field. I have *never* seen "truth" or "fact" set by polling. Scientific controversy exists and disagreements exist. Researchers attempt to use carefully designed experiments with measurements to resolve those disagreements. Fringe researchers get a voice, and once in a while, an "out there" idea does pay off. I have attended many conferences where unconventional theories were presented.
However, when conveying scientific results to the public or policy makers, discussing what is consensus and what is not consensus does make sense. For that purpose, we as scientists and public trust holders shouldn't let the fringe distract us from our best understanding of the world. Because 99.99% of those fringe ideas are pretty much junk.
Science does permit challenges to existing models. But in most cases those challenges will have an extraordinarily difficult time of it. Difficult, not because of some kind of popularity contest. The current best models are there for a reason. They have survived knock-down fights with other models. They have been run through multiple experimental gauntlets. Theoretical models usually have multiple consequences and these consequences can be tested in multiple, cross-linking ways. A new model can be proposed, a new way of thinking put forth, but the burden is upon the proposer to show how this new way is consistent with all previous experiments. Fringe theories should not get a free pass because they are new or fringe.