I just listened to a radio segment on public sentiments toward the Apollo space program expenditures in hindsight. The polling had a small N, 3 people in Los Angeles on the street. But it got me wondering: who supports the space program? There is a variable in the GSS, NATSPAC, with a large sample size, which states:
We are faced with many problems in this country, none of which can be solved easily or inexpensively. I’m going to name some of these problems, and for each one I’d like you to tell me whether you think we’re spending too much money on it, too little money, or about the right amount.
I limited the results to between 1998-2008. Below are the demographic trends.
The secular, the intelligent, the educated and males exhibit inordinate support for a space program. In contrast, blacks, women, the stupid and the extreme poor (that is family income below $25,000 in the past 10 years) are skeptical of funding for the space program. I was surprised by the lack of difference in political clusters, with even a slight tilt toward liberals. I’ve heard the “rockets vs. butter” argument in public forums from Left-leaning individuals many times. In particular I recall as a child being annoyed at Joseph P. Kennedy for making a crass speech on the floor of the House of Representatives in this vein, suggesting that people starve on earth so that rockets may orbit above us.