An ‘All Time High’ for Public Support for Space
Preliminary 2012 data from the national General Social Survey have just been released, and if the numbers hold, they show an “all time high” for public support for space exploration program spending, with positive responses (“too little spending”) higher than at any point in the survey’s 40-year history, and negative responses (“too much spending”) lower than the post-Challenger and early Apollo periods.
I’ve previously written about the GSS data (see here and here for more details on the survey, and here for some trends beyond space exploration). The 2012 updates below use preliminary data rather than the final release, so handle with care:
Initial signs of an upward trend showed up in 2010’s “too little” responses, but were accompanied by a rise in “too much” responses as well, suggesting a polarization. The “too much” trend has reversed itself in 2012, leading to an overall higher favorability rating stronger than at any point in the combined GSS (1973-2012) and Launius (1965-1971) history.
A slightly different rending shows the composite scores (note, “don’t know” responses are not included here):
Finally, the GSS question variant which excludes the word “program” shows the same trends (“program” tends to yield slightly less favorable responses, presumably due to a baseline anti-government-spending sentiment):
Stay tuned for updates using the full weighted and quality controlled data when they are released…