Mozilla Poll Again Shows Net Neutrality Has Broad, Bipartisan Support

from the not-really-that-divided-after-all dept

So we've noted for a long time that while net neutrality is framed as a "partisan" issue, it really isn't. Data has consistently shown overwhelming, bipartisan public support for the concept and the rules, in large part because of the way most people have been treated by marginally-competitive TV or broadband providers. But to help sow dissent among the public, large ISP lobbyists (and the lawmakers paid to love them) have been immensely successful in framing this as a hotly contested subject, usually by portraying the effort, incorrectly, as a "government takeover of the internet."

A new survey from Mozilla and IPSOS once again highlights this cap between reality and common media and policy wisdom. The survey found, unsurprisingly, that over three quarters of Americans (76%) support net neutrality. When it comes to the supposed "partisan division," the survey also found that 81% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans are in favor of it:

So again, this narrative that countless, angry Americans see net neutrality as "Obamacare for the internet" or "incredible government over-reach" tends to be the pervasive wisdom you'll see in the press and in most ISP policy rhetoric, but it's simply not accurate. Most people, across parties, realize the importance of a healthy and functioning internet. And, as the survey makes pretty clear, wanting to prevent giant companies like Comcast from using massive gatekeeper power to anti-competitive advantage against consumers and smaller companies isn't really all that complicated.

"Americans view net neutrality as having a positive impact on most of society. Respondents said it is a “good thing” for small businesses (70%), individuals (69%), innovators (65%) and ISPs (55%), but fewer think that it will benefit big businesses (46%)."

Or, put more simply by the folks at Mozilla:

"At Mozilla, we believe net neutrality is integral to a healthy Internet: it enables Americans to say, watch and make what they want online, without meddling or interference from ISPs (Internet Service Providers, such as AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner). Net neutrality is fundamental to free speech, competition, innovation and choice online."

It's clear that most people understand that net neutrality is just a symptom of a lack of competition in the broadband market, something that has proven endlessly frustrating to consumers and entrepreneurs alike for going on two decades now. Fix the lack of competition, and you fix not only many net neutrality issues, but countless other problems -- from privacy violations. Even the cable industry's own polls reflect this reality.

But it's also clear that the current FCC not only has no real plan to fix or really even acknowledge these competitive shortcomings, but also wants to replace the already-fairly flaccid oversight of the sector with the technology policy equivalent of damp cardboard. All while ignoring the massive, overwhelming support for the rules piling up in their own proceeding's comment section. What's more, they seem to be under the impression that there will be zero repercussions for giving the public a giant, obnoxious middle finger on this subject. One would like to think they're wrong on all fronts.

Filed Under: democrats, net neutrality, partisanship, republicans
Companies: mozilla


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  1. identicon
    Thad, 9 Jun 2017 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Polls don't matter

    I know people who insisted Bush was going to suspend elections and declare martial law. It didn't happen.

    Trump's a lot less popular than Bush, and a lot more vulnerable.

    You're right about the dirty tricks the GOP has pulled to make it more difficult for Democrats to win; those are nontrivial barriers (and could get worse after 2020, since they seem set on botching the census). But the basic facts of midterms haven't changed: the people who turn out are almost always people who are unhappy with the current administration. The opposition party almost always takes the House.

    Bush '02 was an exception, and that was down almost entirely to 9/11 (with a side order of Democratic cowardice; see Joe Lieberman's insistence that they shouldn't run on Enron because they wouldn't want to look anti-business). It is possible that, God forbid, another terrorist attack, or some other traumatic event, could shore up Trump's support the way it did for Bush, but I don't see things playing out the same way if it were to happen again. Trump makes Bush look like a levelheaded, competent diplomat. I think the reaction to a national trauma on Trump's watch would look a lot less like the public reaction to Bush after 9/11 than the public reaction to Bush after Katrina.

    Except Trump's current approval ratings are already lower than Bush's post-Katrina ones.

    On top of that, even if you take Trump out of the equation, the current Republican agenda is extremely unpopular. They're already experiencing serious backlash on the AHCA, and net neutrality is a lot more popular than the ACA.


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