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Americans divided on government’s role in space exploration

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Staff writer ▼ | December 18, 2015
Science   The public is supportive of NASA and ISS

Nearly half of U.S. adults (48%) say the federal government should play a minor or no role in advancing space exploration.

This includes 39% who say government should have only a minor role and 9% who think it should have no role at all.

On the other hand, 47% of U.S. adults say the federal government should have a major role in advancing space exploration.

51% of U.S. adults believe the federal government is doing a very or somewhat good job in advancing space exploration, while 36% say the government is doing a very or somewhat bad job.

Democrats and those who lean to the Democratic Party are somewhat more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to give the government positive ratings on advancing space exploration (58% vs. 45%).

Despite mixed views on government performance and involvement in space exploration, the public is supportive of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA is one of the most popular federal agencies — 70% of U.S. adults rate the agency favorably versus 17% who hold an unfavorable view. This popularity has been consistent across several Pew Research Center surveys.

There is also broad support for the International Space Station, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults said the space station has been a good investment for the country, while 29% said it was not.

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