Gallup: Public Approval of NASA Remains High
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
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.
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