Religion and Social Trends

Public Views NASA Positively, But Generally Disinterested in Increasing Its Budget

Space shuttle Discovery lifts off successfully

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- At 6:42 Thursday morning, the space shuttle Discovery successfully blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle's mission is to deliver a new crew to the international space station. CNN/USA Today/Gallup polls from previous years show that Americans have generally positive views of NASA, but there is little interest in increasing the agency's budget. In late 1999, a Gallup poll showed that 53% of Americans believed NASA was doing an excellent or good job, while 43% rated the job NASA is doing as only fair or poor. This most recent rating is down significantly from the 76% excellent/good rating NASA received in 1998 following John Glenn's return to space flight. The low point for America's space agency came in September 1993, after the loss of the $1 billion Mars Observer, when just 43% of the public thought they were doing an excellent or good job.

The December 1999 poll also asked Americans about the amount of funding NASA should receive. At that time, 16% thought NASA's funding should be increased, and 49% thought it should be kept at its present level. Almost a quarter of the public (24%) thought that funding for NASA should be reduced, and another 10% thought it should be ended altogether. The results of this question have varied since Gallup began asking the question in 1984, but at no point has more than about a fourth of the public endorsed an increase in NASA's budget.

Survey Methods

The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,037 adults, 18 years and older, conducted December 9-12, 1999. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

How would you rate the job being done by NASA -- the U.S. space agency? Would you say it is doing an excellent, good, only fair, or poor job?

 

 

Excellent

Good

Only fair

Poor

No opinion

           

 

%

%

%

%

%

1999 Dec 9-12

13

40

31

12

4

 

1999 Jul 13-14

20

44

20

5

11

1998 Nov 20-22

26

50

17

4

3

1998 Jan 30-Feb 1

21

46

21

4

8

1994 Jul 15-17

14

43

29

6

8

1993 Dec

18

43

30

7

2

1993 Sept

7

36

35

11

11

1991 May

16

48

24

6

6

1990 July

10

36

34

15

5



Now I'd like to ask you about government spending on NASA. In answering, please bear in mind that sooner or later all government spending has to be taken care of out of the taxes that you and other Americans pay. Do you think spending on the U.S. space program should be increased, kept at the present level, reduced or ended altogether?

BASED ON -- 524 -- NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A; ± 5 PCT PTS

 

 

Increased

Kept at the
present level

Reduced

Ended altogether

No opinion

           

 

%

%

%

%

%

1999 Dec 9-12

16

49

24

10

1

 

99 Jul 13-14

18

45

26

8

3

98 Nov 20-22

21

47

26

4

2

93 Dec

11

42

38

8

1

93 Sep

9

37

41

10

3

91 May 2-5

21

44

28

3

4

1989

27

42

22

4

5

1986

26

50

14

5

5

1984

21

48

23

4

4



Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/1927/public-views-nasa-positively-generally-disinterested-increasin.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030