More Space Statistics

This poll from Rasmussen, as many space polls happen to do, is not particularly encouraging. We space geeks are totally ga-ga for space, of course, although we differ on how it should be accessed, but the general public is largely ignorant of the specifics.

For example, this report from The Everett Group, a research firm near D.C., reveals that some 45% of people polled think we should reduce space spending in order to reduce the federal deficit. I fail to see how any reduction at all of NASA’s ~$20 billion/year budget could have any appreciable impact on our ~$1.4 trillion deficit, but hey, what do I know? I just look up numbers on the Internet like any free citizen of this country.

So I’ve learned from this poll what I’ve always known about the American public: most everybody likes space travel, but nobody really knows how much good is done on so little funding, and how great the impact is of that good on the average American citizen.

Apparently a large percentage of people believe that funding space exploration is good because it helps us protect our planet. I, as you may have guessed, prefer the continued survival of the human species to the health and longevity of our planet. The planet won’t be around forever; humanity just might.

Wonderfully, the more abstract aspects of space exploration–inspiring the nation’s young people–was a major factor in the opinions of the poll’s sample population, with 63% of people citing that as their major concern when considering NASA’s funding. In addition (for whatever reason) 67% of Americans feel that space exploration is either “somewhat” or “very” important, with the latter opinion winning by a slim margin (1%).

At the very least, however, we can all find some connection with our fellow Americans, in that a significant percentage (42%, the highest of the responses) have mixed feelings about the new NASA plan, as it was explained to them.

(Full details can be found in the aforementioned reports.)


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