Nov 26, 2018

5. Exclusive poll: Americans are skeptical about the new space race

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Data: SurveyMonkey online poll conducted Nov. 13-15, 2018, among 3,222 U.S. adults. Total margin of error is ±2.5 percentage points; Poll methodology; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Despite the aggressive timetables provided by SpaceX's Elon Musk and Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos, most Americans are not yet convinced that we'll be living on another planet anytime soon, according to an Axios survey conducted by SurveyMonkey for "Axios on HBO."

  • However, if given the chance to fly to space for free, about one-third of Americans would take the trip.

Why it matters: During the next decade, we're poised to see multiple deep space exploration missions move forward, from a return to the moon (NASA's plan) to human missions to Mars (SpaceX and, over the longer-term, NASA as well).

The big picture: For 41% of respondents, there's at least somewhat of a likelihood that people will live in space at some point in their lifetime. That may come sooner than some might expect, considering that 26% of respondents between the ages of 35 and 64 fell into the "somewhat likely" category.

  • There's an important caveat to this question, however. While the question was aimed at gauging views on the likelihood that we'd establish permanent outposts on Mars or the moon, for example, people already live in low Earth orbit aboard the International Space Station for months at a time.

If it were free, 51% of respondents would take a trip to space tomorrow. Those most willing to grab a bag and launch are male millennials (57%) and men overall (42%). Women, on the other hand, were less enthusiastic about an immediate, albeit free, trip to space (27%).

Methodology: This SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted among adults ages 18 and older in the United States. Respondents were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.

The survey was conducted Nov. 13-15 among 3,222  adults. The modeled error estimate  for the full sample is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. Full crosstabs are available here.

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