Washington President Bush's plan to build a space station on the moon and eventually send astronauts to Mars hasn't grabbed the public's imagination, an Associated Press poll suggests.
More than half in the poll said it would be better to spend the money on domestic programs rather than on space research.
Asked whether they favored the United States expanding the space program the way Bush proposes, people were evenly split, with 48 percent favoring the idea and the same number opposing it, according to the poll conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs.
Most respondents said they generally supported continuing to send humans into space. However, given the choice of spending money on programs like education and health care or on space research, 55 percent said they wanted domestic programs. Based on previous estimates for a moon-Mars initiative, the space cost would run in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
On Wednesday, Bush is scheduled to spell out details of his proposal to use an outpost on the moon as a jumping off point for more remote destinations such as Mars or asteroids.
Those most likely to favor the plan to expand space exploration were men, young adults, people with more education and those with higher incomes.
The AP-Ipsos poll of 1,000 adults was taken Friday through Sunday and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.