Gallup has released its latest tracking data on American views of NASA. As Gallup describes, according to the Sept. 14-16 poll, 56% of Americans rate the job NASA is doing in positive terms, with 16% saying it is doing an "excellent" job and 40% a "good" job. Meanwhile, just 8% say it is doing a poor job, with most of the rest describing NASA's performance as "only fair."
According to Gallup, NASA has had less-than-majority positive evaluations just twice since 1990, when Gallup first asked this question. The initial 46% rating in July 1990 came shortly after a flaw in the Hubble telescope was discovered. Gallup measured the historical low rating of 43% in September 1993 after a series of mishaps, which included the loss of contact with the Mars Orbiter and a couple of last-second decisions to scrub planned space shuttle missions.
The high point in NASA's ratings came in November 1998, shortly after Sen. John Glenn -- one of the earliest U.S. astronauts -- made a much-heralded return trip to space.
Even more telling would be what measures the public is using to assess NASA. Which I guess you are attempting to infer from the timeline of events. I suspect that most people would be caught off guard with such a question. "I'm supposed to have an opinion on how good a job NASA is doing?!"
I mainly find it interesting here that the public approves of NASA by tens of points more than they approve of, say, Congress, or the President, or the Iraq War, but these things are all getting money and NASA is not.
Incidentally, if you have any control over this: this post is currently in rotation as one of the top-of-the-page scienceblogs plugs, but the title there is given as "Gallop: Public Approval of NASA Remains High". Giddy-yup!