Veteran space journalist Miles O’Brien will testify on the Hill Wednesday, Feb. 24, regarding what the public thinks of President Obama’s space plan and NASA in general. What do you think? We appreciate your participation in this short survey. Thank you.
This is a reference to a hearing by the Senate Commerce Committee’s space subcommittee on Wednesday about NASA’s FY11 budget request. (The page, as of late Sunday, didn’t have the list of witnesses; presumably O’Brien will be joined by, among others, NASA administrator Charles Bolden.) O’Brien said he would share the results of the survey at the hearing.
The questions are pretty general, covering both high-level issues associated with the budget request (canceling Constellation, relying on commercial providers for crew access to LEO), as well as more general questions about NASA’s role in inspiration and education as well as its funding level. However, the mechanism for collecting this information is imperfect at best: not only is there all kinds of selection bias associated with online polling in general, the poll appears to allow people to complete the survey more than once (I tested it and got the same “Survey Completed” message when I filled out and submitted it again.)
Needless to say, any sort of concrete conclusions from this survey will be dubious at best, and perhaps not the best use of the committee’s time. What would be more useful would be some kind of scientific survey by a polling firm (Gallup, Rasmussen, Zogby, etc.). There haven’t been any NASA-related ones published that I’ve seen since the NASA budget came out at the beginning of the month; the most recent was a Rasmussen poll in mid-January, which found that while 64% of respondents had a favorable view of NASA, 50% wanted to “cut back on space exploration” because of the economy.