NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Dec 12, 2013) - According to the latest YouGov Omnibus research, 94% of adult Americans surveyed feel it is important that NASA and the US space program are maintained. Men are more likely to have strength in the opinion with one in three (32%) stating it is extremely important for the United States to maintain NASA compared with one in four (23%) women.
Reasons why the public believe it is important to maintain the space program vary strongly with age. Younger respondents (aged 18 to 34) focus on the idea of human excellence generally or the environmental issues they may encounter in their lifetimes. Respondents who are older (55 and over) -- and lived through the original space race and cold war -- are more likely to highlight defence issues such as strategy or global dominance.
So how much should we be funding NASA? Their 2014 budget has been set at $16 billion, the lowest since 2007. Overall, four in ten (39%) Americans think this is about right with almost the same proportion (38%) saying this is too low. Just under one in four (23%) feel this is too high.
Gender plays an interesting part again here, with almost half (47%) of men stating this is too low compared with 29% of women.
One alternative to the public funding of space missions is to encourage the private sector to stump up some of the cash. This view is popular among Americans, with half (50%) of adults stating that space exploration should be funded equally from public funds and private cash through companies such as Virgin Galactic and SpaceX. A further one in seven (14%) feel space exploration should be mainly funded privately and 18% think private companies should fully fund it.
Reaching Mars in an unmanned mission is one thing, but how long until we can land people on the planet? Two-thirds (66%) of the public believe this will happen in the next 50 years -- more than two in five (44%) believe we are a maximum of 20 years off. Around one in five (22%) believe this will never happen, however, with women being more sceptical than men (29% stating this compared with 15% of men).
Finally -- given the opportunity to take a space flight free of costs, would you go? Just one in four (25%) of the public said they definitely would, a further 19% stating they probably would. The gender divide is as strong here as with other thoughts on space with one in three (33%) of men saying definitely compared with just 17% of women.
For more information and links to full tables go to: http://research.yougov.com/news/2013/12/11/space-funding-final-frontier/
Note on Methodology
Total sample size was 1170 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th November - 1st December 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).
YouGov is an international full-service research and consulting company, which has pioneered the use of technology to collect higher quality, in-depth data for companies, governments, and institutions so that they can better serve the people that sustain them.