CBS News reports that “while a majority still thinks the Space Shuttle is worth continuing, the program receives its lowest level of support in this poll since CBS News started asking about it in 1986. In addition, the public gives the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) its lowest job rating to date.”
This is an interesting bit of news, but the general unreliability of polls is exacerbated in this case, since “this poll was conducted before the repair of Discovery took place.” The huge amount of live TV news coverage the repair received would certainly boost public opinion of the shuttles in particular and NASA in general.
It may, however, help to show a general trend downward in support for the governmental program, down to 59% from a high of 80% support in 1986. As in all political matters, funding decisions should be made with a coherent prioritization in view of monetary scarcity. Nevertheless, special interests and political economy serve to make what ought to be and what is two quite different things.