Fifty-two percent of young voters say the United States should not lead efforts to colonize other planets, while 32 percent say it should and a further 21 percent are unsure.
The question was asked as part of a first-of-its-kind Rare poll that surveyed only respondents under 40. The questions were tailored to chart trends in the opinions of younger voters.
There were some surprises in the results. Republicans, traditionally more inclined to talk about American national greatness than Democrats, were dead-set against colonization. Only 18 percent supported it, compared to 26 percent of Democrats and 33 percent of independents.
Still, some Republicans have held out, like Newt Gingrich who said during the 2012 presidential primary that the United States should establish a base on the moon.
“I’d like to have an American on the moon before the Chinese get there,” he said.
Also surprisingly, the more educated a respondent was, the less likely he was to support space colonization. Only 24 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree and 27 percent of those with a master’s degree supported living on other planets. Thirty-nine percent of those without a high school degree were supportive.
Since the recession, other polling shows voters have grown increasingly concerned about basic issues like the economy and jobs, while losing interest in less-personal issues like climate change and the environment.
The Rare survey was conducted by nonpartisan Gravis Marketing between August 11 and August 18. A total of 556 respondents under age 40 were interviewed over the phone and using Internet panels. Overall, the poll has a margin of error of 5 percent.