Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s attack on Big Bird and PBS isn’t helping him, according to the latest The Washington Times/Zogby Poll, which found that most voters say spending taxpayer money on public broadcasting is a good use of government funding.
In last week’s debate, Mr. Romney said he is a fan of “Sesame Street’s” marquee character and even said he liked debate moderator and longtime PBS newsman Jim Lehrer, but he said that doesn’t mean taxpayers should be paying for both.
“I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it,” Mr. Romney said.
Likely voters, however, seemed content to borrow: 55 percent said PBS “is a worthwhile place to spend taxpayers’ money,” while only 35 percent said that “the government cannot afford to subsidize public television.”
Even a quarter of voters who plan to vote for Mr. Romney said they would like to see the money keep flowing, while among President Obama’s supporters the backing for PBS was overwhelming. More than 80 percent of Obama supporters said PBS should get government money.
Voters with children were also more likely want to keep funding for PBS that voters without children.
Sensing a good issue, Mr. Obama has pounced.
“For all you moms and kids out there, don’t worry, somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird,” he said while campaigning on Friday. Elmo, you better make a run for it. Governor Romney is going to let Wall Street run wild again, but he’s going to bring the hammer down on ‘Sesame Street.’”
The poll of 800 likely voters was taken Friday through Sunday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.