A new nationwide poll by the University of Delaware shows an overwhelming majority of Americans still disapprove of allowing corporations to charge for preferential internet access.
71 percent of the country opposes so-called “internet fast lanes”. That’s down from a similar UD report last year that found 81 percent of people in opposition, with those identifying as Republican accounting for much of the shift.
Paul Brewer, director of UD’s Center for Political Communication, says he thinks it’s because President Obama revealed his support for net neutrality shortly after the first poll, a stance GOP lawmakers, like Ted Cruz, seized on.
“Cruz specifically called net neutrality “Obamacare for the internet.” So what we think has happened between last year and this year, at least among people paying attention, public opinion about this issue has gotten more polarized along party lines," Brewer said.
The poll also found that while Americans oppose allowing “internet fast lanes” they’re also hesitant to allow government regulate in a way that cements net neutrality.
The Federal Communications Commission recently defended its new net neutrality policy in court, but judges haven’t reached a decision.
Brewer says he started following the complicated issue because he sees it affecting more people's lives as society further relies on technology and the internet.
“I cut [my cable TV subscription] and so I depend on the internet for my television and so that has a potential impact on my day-to-day life.”
In general, men were more likely to have heard about the issue than women and were slightly less likely to support net neutrality.
About 900 people took the survey and it carries a roughly three percent margin of error.