New National Survey Shows 73% of Voters – Including Most Republicans – Oppose Eliminating Federal Funding for Public Television

GOP voters oppose eliminating federal funding for public television
by almost a 2-1 margin

Bipartisan polling team finds 83% of voters – including 70% of
President Trump voters – want Congress to find savings elsewhere

Children’s educational programming and public safety communications
seen as essential benefits of public television by voters across
political spectrum

ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new national survey conducted jointly by leading Republican and
Democratic researchers reveals that voters across the political spectrum
overwhelmingly oppose eliminating federal funding for public television
and that more than 7 in 10 see public television as a good or excellent
value for their tax dollars, on par with investments in highways, roads
and bridges.


The telephone survey of 1001 registered voters was conducted in early
January by a bipartisan polling team from American Viewpoint (R) and
Hart Research Associates (D) on behalf of public television. In a joint
memo released today, the pollsters write, “Our survey finds that while
the country may be deeply divided on many issues, the importance of
federal funding for public television is not one of them. In fact, with
remarkable consistency, majorities of voters of all political stripes
support federal funding for public television and do not want to see it
eliminated. Voters see public television as a good value proposition for
the American taxpayer, and express high levels of concern about the
consequences should federal funding for public television be eliminated.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • 73% of voters oppose eliminating federal funding for public
    television
     and GOP voters oppose it by almost a 2-1 margin
    (62%-32%).
  • Public television is rated as an excellent or good value for their
    tax dollars by 72% of voters, on par with highways, roads and bridges
    (73%)
    . Among GOP voters, public television received higher
    taxpayer value ratings than unemployment benefits, federal aid to
    college students, agricultural subsidies, environmental protection,
    and foreign aid
  • 3 in 4 voters want federal funding for public TV increased or
    maintained at current levels
    . 66% who voted for President Trump
    favor increasing or maintaining federal funding for public TV, as do
    86% of those who voted for Hillary Clinton.
  • 83% of voters – including 70% of those who voted for President
    Trump and 93% of those that voted for Hillary Clinton – say they would
    tell their elected representatives to find other places in the budget
    to save money 
    if asked their opinion about eliminating
    federal funding for public television. This holds true regionally in
    the Northeast (88%), South (80%), Midwest (82%) and West (84%).
    Notably, this number is even higher among voters in states that
    flipped from blue to red in the 2016 election, with 85% of voters
    wanting savings to come from somewhere other than public television.
  • More than 8 in 10 voters have a great deal or fair amount of
    concern that ending federal funding for public television could
    eliminate local stations’ public safety communications services like
    AMBER Alerts and severe weather warnings
    . Similarly, 76% of voters
    express concern about public television having to significantly cut
    educational shows that help children prepare for success in school.
  • PBS/public television enjoys a very high image rating among the
    electorate (69% positive v. 7% negative)
    . Among those that voted
    for President Trump, PBS/public television has a much higher positive
    image rating (60%) than the traditional broadcast networks (37%),
    cable TV networks (41%) and newspapers (24%).
  • 2 in 3 voters think it is very or fairly important for America to
    have a strong public television system
    .
  • A top reason for protecting federal funding for public television
    is that it provides more than 120,000 trusted learning tools and free
    resources for teachers, parents, and caregivers to use in the
    classroom and at home
    . 67% of Republicans, 73% of
    independents, and 87% of Democrats found this to be a convincing
    reason.
  • Arguments for eliminating federal funding for public television do
    not resonate strongly with voters of any political affiliation
    . Common
    arguments for eliminating federal funding for public television, such
    as the number of channels available on cable and other pay television
    services, were found convincing by just 21%-26% of voters.

These results show that Republican and President Trump voters
overwhelmingly support public television and strongly oppose eliminating
its federal funding,” said Linda DiVall of American Viewpoint. “The
voters that elected the President, including a majority of Republicans,
put the taxpayer value delivered by public television on par with
building highways, roads and bridges. Both are seen as high-value
investments in America and its future.”

The enormous benefits that public television delivers in terms of
public safety and children’s programming are recognized across party
lines,” said Geoff Garin of Hart Research Associates. “In a time of deep
division in Washington and around the country, the strong bipartisan
support for continued federal funding of public television is
remarkable.”

Survey Background

Hart Research Associates (D) and American Viewpoint (R) conducted a
nationwide telephone survey among a representative cross-section of 1001
registered voters. Interviewing was conducted January 4-8, 2017, and the
survey has an overall margin of error of ±3.1%.

Charts and analysis of the Hart Research – American Viewpoint survey are
available here.

A memo on the results by Hart Research – American Viewpoint can be found here.

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