More Americans Believe in Witches, UFOs Than Support FCC’s Net Neutrality Proposal

Rudy Takala | February 20, 2015 | 3:34pm EST
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FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai. (Federal Communications Commission)

( – Matthew Berry, chief of staff to Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai, pointed out that only nine percent of Americans support the commission’s plan to regulate the Internet.

“More Americans believe in witches (21%) than support Pres. Obama's Internet regulation plan as it stands (9%),” Berry Tweeted on Friday.

Berry was referring to the findings of a poll conducted over the weekend that found that only nine percent of Americans support the “net neutrality” regulations set for a vote next Thursday. The study was conducted by Hart Research Associates, a Democratic polling firm.

In a 2005 poll looking at beliefs in the paranormal, Gallup found that more than twice that number - 21 percent - of Americans “believe in witches.” The poll also found that 24 percent of Americans believe that "extraterrestrial beings" have visited Earth.

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 332-page net neutrality plan, proposed by Democrats on the commission, will pass if the five-member body’s three Democrats vote in unison as expected. However, the FCC has prohibited release of the plan until after its passage.

In addition to the finding that only nine percent of Americans are in favor of the net neutrality regulations currently before the commission, Hart’s polling found that 79 percent of Americans believe the “exact wording and the details of the plan” should be made public before the commission votes on it.

Berry’s boss, Ajit Pai, is a Republican on the commission who has been outspoken in his opposition.

“Over the last two weeks, it has become clear that the American people want the federal government to keep its hands off of the Internet. Americans also want to see the plan before any vote,” Commissioner Pai said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the FCC has steadfastly refused to inform the public because it knows that the more the American people find out about President Obama’s plan, the less they like it.”

Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, a Democrat, has not released any statements in more than two weeks. However, in a speech he delivered in Boulder, Colorado on February 9, Wheeler said that regulation would ensure a free and open Internet.

“There are three simple keys to the broadband future. Broadband networks must be fast. Broadband networks must be fair. Broadband networks must be open,” he said. “For those to whom much is given, much is also expected — especially including an open network.”

In the political realm, more Americans support a variety of controversial political positions than the small fraction that favors the FCC’s clandestine net neutrality proposal.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released in September, 24 percent of Americans support the secession of the state in which they reside. (In Texas, the percentage was above 30 percent.) And a CNN/ORC poll released last summer found that 33 percent of Americans – including 13 percent of Democrats – wanted President Obama to be impeached.

Related: FCC Chairman Bows to White House Pressure, Backs Regulation of Internet

Related: FCC Commissioner Speaks Out Against Federal Regulation of Internet

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