Poll: Americans Wrongly Estimate $178 Billion In Fed. Budget Goes To Public Broadcasting

In a CNN poll of American adults released Friday, the median guess on what percentage of the federal budget goes to public broadcasting was 5%. With a $3.55 trillion budget last year, that would put funding for the CBP at approximately $178 billion.

In reality though, that’s not even close.

The CPB received about $420 million last year from the federal government, making it roughly one one-hundredth of one percent, of the overall budget. That means that the median response was about 424 times higher than the actual amount of federal funding that went to public broadcasting last year.Further, 20% of respondents thought CPB funding made up over 10% of the entire budget, including 5% who said it made up at least half.

Those findings comes as Congress continues to debate pulling all funding for public broadcasting, including NPR. Fake-pimp and sting video maker James O’Keefe released a video in March that showed an NPR executive bashing Fox News and the Tea Party, a video whose release helped fuel the push to defund NPR.

The survey also underscores how clueless Americans are about where the budget goes in general. For example, Americans on average thought foreign aid took up 10% of the budget; it really makes up about 1%.

The CNN poll was conducted March 11-13 among 1,023 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of 3.0%.

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