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Voters strongly favor government funding for PBS, poll finds

October 09, 2012|By Meredith Blake
  • According to a new poll, the American public overwhelming supports public funding for PBS.
According to a new poll, the American public overwhelming supports public… (Stan Honda / AFP / Getty Images )

Mitt Romney has vowed to cut government funding for Big Bird and his PBS friends, but the results of a new poll indicate the Republican candidate is out of step with most Americans on this issue.

A survey of 800 likely voters, commissioned by the Washington Times and conducted by the polling firm Zogby from Friday through Sunday, found that  55% of voters oppose cuts in spending to public television and consider it a “worthwhile” use of federal funds. In contrast, only 35% of voters believe “the government cannot afford to subsidize public television.”

Although defunding PBS has been a conservative legislative priority since at least the mid-‘90s, the poll’s results suggest that public television enjoys more bipartisan support than, well, just about anything does these days.

COMMENTARY: Describe Obama, Romney in 3 words

That may be why the Obama campaign has been so quick to seize upon the “Save Big Bird” meme. Today they released a satirical new video criticizing Romney for going after “Sesame Street” rather than Wall Street. The ad features footage of Big Bird with a faux-ominous voiceover describing him as “a menace to our economy.”

But Big Bird stubbornly refuses to be anyone’s political pawn: Within hours of the video’s release, Sesame Workshop issued a statement requesting the spot be pulled. As of this writing, it’s still on YouTube.

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