21 December 1999
News - Tourism (Bad)
Alabamians Space Shy?
Mars failures Only Minor Influence In Space Apathy
In a Mobile, Alabama Register editorial titled poorly, "Mars failures may have influenced," are the seeds of discontent that Americans feel towards a spectator "space program."


The Mobile Register and the University of South Alabama teamed up on
the poll. They unexpectedly found solid majorities (56 percent) against unmanned exploration of Mars and even more lopsided majorities (69 percent) against sending people to Mars.

Despite Alabama's Apollo space legacy, three-fourths of the respondants said they wouldn't go into outer space if they had the opportunity. A nationwide poll taken a year ago showed that 43 percent of those surveyed would go into space if they could, and 55 percent said they wouldn't.

One university professor tried to explain these results by saying, "I think the idea of exploration - space, ocean or top of mountains - is more of a middle-class idea than a working-class idea, part of the fantasy world of the well-educated professional. Wealthy, educated people can dream of long vacations in exotic locales, but the working-class Alabamian's aspirations are limited to How much vacation, and where do they go? They don't get much and they go to Gulf Shores."

This is a perception that we need to take seriously and find ways to
counter it.

Half the Alabamians polled said the government is spending too much money on the space program.

Keith Nicholls, the head of the USA Polling Group, said the failure of the latest Mars probes may have contributed to the negative feelings toward space exploration, but they probably weren't decisive.

The survey of 400 adult Alabamians was conducted Monday through Thursday by the USA Polling Group. The margin of error is plus or
minus five percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Interesting data and observations.
Source: Mobile Register

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21 December 1999
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