Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

Poll: Americans have strong support for NASA and space
Posted: April 6, 2000

An artist's concept of the space shuttle approaching the International Space Station in the future. Photo: NASA
Space exploration and NASA scored more favorable ratings than last year according to a survey conducted on behalf of the Space Foundation's Space Awareness Initiative. The second annual America's Space Poll found a rise in voter's support for increasing NASA's budget and again revealed that an overwhelming majority of Americans support the development of a National Missile Defense System.

The results of the poll, conducted during March in a survey of 1,000 registered voters, were released here at the 16th National Space Symposium.

Three-fourths of the voters have a favorable rating of space exploration, a jump of ten percentage points since 1999. NASA also saw a 10 percent increase in its rating, with more than eight out of ten voters expressing a favorable opinion of the agency.

In the survey, voters expressed a strong desire to see the space industry produce scientific breakthroughs that have a direct impact on their lives, specifically in the areas of health, the environment, communications and education. Nearly 7 out of 10 voters said using technology and space research on health related research and the environment was important.

Mirroring 1999 results, the poll revealed that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe the United States should develop a National Missile Defense System. Nine in ten voters (89.8 percent) believe it is "important" to use its space capabilities to protect itself against a missile attack and two-thirds (65.5 percent) answered "very important."

Space issues may also play a role in the 2000 presidential election according to the survey. More than half (57.4 percent) of the voters say a candidate's position on space related issues is "important" with 15.9% saying it is "very important." Close to six in ten (59.2 percent) said they would be more likely to support a candidate who backed the completion of the International Space Station.

In questions regarding NASA's budget, more than four in ten (43.1 percent) say it should be increased, up from 32.5% in last year's poll. An additional 45.5 percent say NASA's slice of the federal budget should remain the same. NASA currently receives less than one percent of the government's spending.

"The results confirm that Americans believe strongly in the importance of space exploration and want to continue to see it improve their daily lives," said Space Foundation President Bill Knudsen, commenting on the poll.

The nationwide survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted by Shandwick World Research and has a margin of error of three percent.

The Space Foundation is a national non-profit organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.

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