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[i]For example, in the summer of 1965 one third of the nation favored cutting the space budget, while only 16 percent wanted to increase it. Over the next three-and-one-half years, the number in favor of cutting space spending went up to 40 percent, with those preferring an increase dropping to 14 percent. At the end of 1965, the New York Times reported that a poll conducted in six American cities showed five other public issues holding priority over efforts in outer space. Polls in the 1960s also consistently ranked spaceflight near the top of those programs to be cut in the federal budget. Most Americans seemingly preferred doing something about air and water pollution, job training for unskilled workers, national beautification, and poverty before spending federal funds on human spaceflight. The following year Newsweek echoed the Times story, stating: "The U.S. space program is in decline. The Vietnam war and the desperate conditions of the nation's poor and its cities--which make space flight seem, in comparison, like an embarrassing national self-indulgence -- have combined to drag down a program where the sky was no longer the limit."[/i]
[i][b]Do Americans remember the Apollo program with the same type of glowing terms being used to describe its historical significance today?[/b]
It appears that some of the hyperbole surrounding the moon effort is not necessarily endorsed by the average American. A July 13-14 poll asked Americans if they agreed with a statement, based on an assertion appearing on the NASA web site, that "the human race accomplished its single greatest technological achievement of all time by landing a man on the moon." Only 39% agree with this statement. Fifty-nine percent don't. Presumably, technological developments that have occurred since 1969, including in particular the computer, have stolen some of the moon program's luster.
[b]One assumes that it is young Americans who are least likely to remember Armstrong, since they were not alive at the time of the historic mission. Is this true?[/b]
No, exactly the opposite is true. Those who are now 18-29 years old, and thus who were not yet born in 1969, are most likely to be able to name Neil Armstrong. The older one gets, the less likely he or she is to name Armstrong, culminating in the fact that only 29% of those 65 and older can name him. It can be assumed that the youngest Americans are most likely to have run across the Armstrong name in their history classes, while older Americans, who may have watched on television, have fading memories when it comes to specifics.
By the way, Armstrong is better known now than he was 10 years ago, when in a similar Gallup poll, only 39% could name him as the first man to walk on the moon.[/i]
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