Study: Support of Space Exploration Indifferent of Religiosity, but Presidential Candidates Vary Widely

NASA

While non-religious have speculated it, the latest from Pew Research Center closes the door on the stereotype that Pew Research Center - Majority of Americans Approve of Humans in Space Explorationreligious followers are less likely to support space exploration and related programs.
In the new study, released October 2015 and focusing on science and religion, asked questions about this topic, such as “Do you think the space station has been a good investment for this country, or don’t you think so?” and “As you think about the future of the U.S. space program, do you think it is essential or not essential to include the use of human astronauts in space?”

64% of adults believe the International Space Station (ISS) is a good investment for the country. 59% believe astronauts are essential for the future of the space program.

According to Pew Research Center, the overall takeaway is that opinions about our investments in space do not vary in significance when you look at how often the one attends church. You can read the full Pew study on science and religion here.

Meanwhile, presidential candidates support of the space programs run by the US vary widely:

  • Sen. Ted Cruz: currently the chairman of the Senate Space, Science, and Competitiveness subcommittee, Cruz has expressed interest in increasing support to NASA (though his denial of climate change leads the speculation on why he wants to shift internal NASA budgets away from Earth-focused work)
  • Se. Rand Paul in his proposed budget, would as president cut
    space exploration up to 25%
  • Hillary Clinton has not commented publicly on her views of space exploration
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a recent Ask Me Anything on Reddit that he supports “increasing funding for NASA”
  • Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, supports increasing federal spending on research and development, and has said that he’s a “space guy”
  • Martin O’Malley hasn’t said anything either way about support, though he did tweet about the recent Pluto flyby that it “was a landmark achievement in space exploration”
  • Donald Trump, when asked by Forbes about our spending on space programs, said ““Honestly, I think it’s wonderful; I want to rebuild our infrastructure first, ok?”
  • Ben Carson hasn’t put anything into writing about space, but did say this in an answer to a question: “I would get the NASA program off the ground because enormous numbers of inventions came out of NASA, things that we use every day.”
  • Sen. Marco Rubio wants to get people excited about NASA is doing, though has not mentioned in detail about where he sees the program’s budget
  • Mike Huckabee said in February that “because of the advances made necessary by the space program we now have technology every day that saves our lives at the hospital, and improves our lives” though no commitment on funding has been made
  • George Pataki, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, and Chris Christie have not commented publicly in the current presidential race about NASA or space funding

For his part, President Barack Obama has proposed increases to the 2016 NASA budget of a about half a billion dollars, giving $18.5 billion to NASA and its related expenditures.