Though the electorate is divided, both Republicans and Democrats polled in a new survey said they support federal funding for public television.
The survey of 1,001 registered voters, conducted Jan. 4–8, found that 73 percent of those surveyed, said they opposed the elimination of federal funding for public TV. Eighty-three percent of Democrats did not want funding cuts, along with 82 percent of independents and 62 percent of Republicans.
Forty-four percent of all respondents “strongly” opposed elimination of funding. Support for federal funds spanned all regions of the country, with most respondents citing public TV’s educational mission as its most important value.
“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,” PBS said in a press release.
The survey was commissioned by PBS and conducted by a Democratic polling team from Hart Research Associates and a Republican team from research firm American Viewpoint. “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,” the companies said in a memo.
Seventy percent of Trump voters and 93 percent of Clinton voters said they want Congress to find other ways to trim federal spending. Among voters in states that flipped from blue to red in the election, 76 percent said funding should not be eliminated.
Among other findings:
- Seventy-six percent of voters want funding maintained at current levels or increased, including 87 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of independents and 65 percent of Republicans.
- Sixty-nine percent of voters said they believed eliminating federal funding for public TV would cause significant losses for their community. Sixty percent of voters said it would be a significant loss for their family.
- Eighty-four percent of the respondents — including 92 percent of Democrats, 83 percent of independents and 77 percent of Republicans — said they were concerned about the possible elimination of public-safety communication services, including severe weather advisories and Amber Alerts. They also shared concerns about the loss of educational content and resources.
Concern about federal funding for public broadcasting grew last month after an anonymously sourced report in the newspaper The Hill reported that President Trump was considering eliminating funding for CPB.