As the countdown to close the space shuttle program clicks down to zero, a new poll shows the public giving the shuttle program a thumbs-up as a worthwhile investment of the country.
A newly issued Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey has found that 45 percent of the public say the space shuttle program was worth what it cost taxpayers.
NASA’s human space shuttle program is in its final year, “and the plurality of Americans believes it has been worth the price,” noted a Rasmussen press statement.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 45% of adults say the program has been worth the expense to taxpayers. A third (33%) says the program was not worth the cost, while another 23% are not sure.
Other findings as reported by Rasmussen are:
- The number who says the space program was worth it is up five points from January, while the number who says it was not worth it is down only slightly. Last July, only 45% said that the U.S. investment in space exploration since Americans first landed on the moon has been worth the expense.
- Thirty-five percent (35%) disagreed and felt the space effort was not worth the money spent on it.
- Adults under the age of 30 are far less likely to believe the program has been the worth the money, compared to their elders.
- Nearly half of Americans (49%) now say that given the current state of the economy, the United States should cut back on space exploration. That number is similar to the result found in January but it is up six points from last July.
- A third (34%) of adults do not see a need for America to cut back on space exploration under the current economic conditions. Eighteen percent (18%) are undecided.
- Americans are closely divided over who should pay for the space program these days. Thirty-six percent (36%) say the federal government should fund the program, but 38% think the private sector should. Another 25% are not sure. NASA recently announced that it plans to hand over transport flights to the International Space Station to private contractors and focus more on research and development.
- Overall, 78% of Americans hold a favorable opinion of NASA, while only 14% view the country’s space agency unfavorably. Those numbers include 27% who view the National Aeronautics and Space Administration very favorably and three percent (3%) who view it very unfavorably.\
- The number who views NASA favorably is up from 64% in January and 57% in July 2007.
Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.