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Gallup Poll Finds Americans Overall Strongly Support Space Exploration

More than 60 percent believe the U.S. should continue to fund space exploration either at its current level or an increased one.
by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) Sep 27, 2006
A new Gallup Poll shows more than two-thirds of respondents support the nation's stepping-stone approach to space exploration, which includes flying the space shuttle to complete the International Space Station, building a replacement vehicle for the space shuttle, returning humans to the moon, and exploring Mars and points beyond. (Respondents support this approach if NASA's budget does not exceed 1 percent of the federal budget.)

The most recent poll, conducted in August, is the last in a three-part series of polls commissioned by the Coalition for Space Exploration in an effort to better understand the extent of support and public attitudes toward America's space program. The first polls were conducted in June of 2005 and March of 2006.

"Cumulative results indicate that, over the course of time and despite varying world and national circumstances, the American people still strongly support space exploration and are willing to support its funding at current levels or even slightly increased," said Jeff Carr, chairman of the Coalition for Space Exploration.

More than 60 percent believe the U.S. should continue to fund space exploration either at its current level or an increased one. Currently, NASA's budget is less than 1 percent of the federal budget, or approximately 15 cents per day for the average, tax-paying citizen. In addition, 69 percent of all respondents surveyed agree that the benefits of space exploration outweigh the risks of human space flight.

"Space technology advances have created countless industries, spawned millions of jobs and infused billions of dollars into our economy," Carr added. "In today's indulgent culture, we spend and risk far more for far less of a return. Exploration and its results have an impact on everyone in this country, and will for generations to come."

Despite China's intent to send probes to the Moon by 2017, one year before the U.S.' plans to land humans, 69 percent of Americans are not concerned that the U.S. will lose its leadership role in space.

The Gallup Organization conducted the surveys June 9-July 1, 2005; March 3-19, 2006; and Aug. 2-19, 2006. Results for each were based on a nationally representative sample of 1,000 telephone interviews with a general population sample of adult men and women ages 18 and older and residing in telephone households. Errors attributable to sampling and other random effects are plus or minus three percentage points. Other factors that can introduce error or bias in the findings of opinion polls include question wording and practical difficulties.

    (Media note: cumulative results from all three Gallup polls below)

Coalition for Space Exploration Gallup Poll Results

March 2006 (n=1001) August 2006 (n=1000) (*) question was not part of 2005 poll QUESTION: In January 2004, a new plan for space exploration was announced. The plan includes a stepping-stone approach to return the space shuttle to flight, complete assembly of the space station, build a replacement for the shuttle, go back to the moon, and travel to Mars and beyond. If NASA's budget did not exceed one percent of the federal budget, to what extent would you support or oppose this new plan for space exploration? 2005 March '06 August '06 % % % Strongly support it 26 14 19 Support it 51 50 47 Neutral 2 5 4 Oppose it 14 19 18 Strongly oppose it 6 10 10 Don't know/Refused 1 2 2 Total 100 100 100 Number of Interviews (1001) (1001) (1000)

QUESTION: NASA'S budget request this year is under one percent of the federal budget, which would amount to approximately $58 per year for the average citizen. Do you think the nation should continue to fund space exploration ...?

2005 March '06 August '06 % % % At this current level 36 31 32 At a slightly increased level 25 22 22 At a significantly increased level 12 7 9 At a slightly decreased level 12 14 14 At a significantly decreased level 4 8 6 Not fund at all 8 15 12 Don't know/Refused 3 3 5 Total 100 100 100 Number of Interviews (1001) (1001) (1000)

QUESTION: To what extent do you agree or disagree that the scientific, technical and other benefits of space exploration are worth the risks of human space flight?

GENDER AGE Total Male Female 18-34 35-49 50-64 65+ % % % % % % % Strongly agree 26 36 17 26 32 32 15 Agree 43 42 44 49 41 40 42 Neither agree nor disagree (vol.) 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 Disagree 19 12 25 19 18 15 26 Strongly disagree 8 7 9 5 8 9 11 Don't know/Refused 3 2 3 --- 4 3 4 Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 Number of Interviews (1000) (472) (528) (167) (266) (306) (242) QUESTION: Both China and the U.S. have announced plans to send astronauts to the moon. China has announced plans go to the moon by 2017 and the U.S. has announced plans to send astronauts to the moon by 2018, a year later. To what extent, if any, are you concerned that China would become the new leader in space exploration or take the lead over the U.S.? * March 2006 August 2006 % % Very concerned 13 12 Somewhat concerned 20 16 Neutral 1 2 Not very concerned 34 32 Not concerned at all 32 37 Don't know/Refused --- 1 Total 100 100 Number of Interviews (1001) (1000)

QUESTION: In your opinion, how good a job is the U.S. doing in handling the following? *

War on National Leadership Healthcare Terrorism Disasters in Space Needs % % % % Mar Aug Mar Aug Mar Aug Mar Aug '06 '06 '06 '06 '06 '06 '06 '06

Very good job 15 13 6 7 13 17 7 5 Good job 34 37 26 27 54 52 25 26 Not a very good job 26 25 34 32 18 15 37 36 Very poor job 23 21 33 31 7 6 30 29 Don't know/Refused 2 4 1 3 8 10 1 4 Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

The Coalition for Space Exploration is a diverse group of companies, nonprofit organizations, trade associations and unions, and space pioneers dedicated to increasing public understanding and support of the Vision for Space Exploration, a focused plan for America's continued exploration of space. The Vision helps to ensure the U.S. remains a leader in space, science and technology - key factors that impact the nation's economy and help to maintain homeland security.

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Young Adults "Largely Disinterested" in the Vision for Space Exploration
Houston TX (SPX) Sep 27, 2006
In a study reported on last week at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Space 2006 meeting, Dittmar Associates reported that young American adults are "largely disinterested" in the Vision for Space Exploration announced by President Bush in January of 2004. These results came from a follow-up study to the company's groundbreaking Market Study for Space Exploration originally released in November of that year.

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