February 16, 2017; Hollywood Reporter
Americans are deeply divided on a host of deeply held values and policy issues. However, federal support for PBS is an area where a majority of Americans agree, according to a recent poll.
A recent survey conducted by PBS found that the majority of Americans (73 percent) do not support federal funding cuts. The survey, conducted by American Viewpoint (R) and Hart Research Associates (D), also found that 66 percent of people who voted for President Donald Trump favor increased funding for public television, as do 86 percent of Hillary Clinton voters. In addition, when asked if public television was a good value for tax dollars, 72 percent of those surveyed agreed.
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.”
In addition, the survey found that a high percentage of people say they would take action if defunding PBS actually comes on the table. Eighty-three percent of all surveyed, which includes a majority of both Trump (73 percent) and Clinton (93 percent) voters, responded that they would oppose funding cuts to PBS and tell their elected representatives to find other programs in the budget to cut.
As we are still processing Trump’s address to Congress last night, only time will tell if they are successful in including the proposed cuts to PBS—along with the other cuts to non-defense discretionary spending—in the final budget. (Here’s some recent NPQ reporting on this issue.) This survey shows two things clearly: We have bipartisan agreement on the value of PBS, and both Democrats and Republicans say they are not afraid to let Congress know these feelings.
Interested in learning where the budget process goes from here? Check out this posting from the National Council of Nonprofits.—Lauren Miltenberger