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Voters strongly favor government funding for PBS, poll finds

By Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times –

NEW YORK — Mitt Romney has vowed to cut government funding for Big Bird and his PBS friends, but the results of a new poll indicate the Republican candidate is out of step with most Americans on this issue.

A survey of 800 likely voters, commissioned by The Washington Times and conducted by the polling firm Zogby from Friday through Sunday, found that 55 percent of voters oppose cuts in spending to public television and consider it a “worthwhile” use of federal funds. In contrast, only 35 percent of voters believe “the government cannot afford to subsidize public television.”

Although defunding PBS has been a conservative legislative priority since at least the mid-’90s, the poll’s results suggest that public television enjoys more bipartisan support than, well, just about anything does these days.

That may be why the Obama campaign has been so quick to seize upon the “Save Big Bird” meme. Tuesday they released a satirical new video criticizing Romney for going after “Sesame Street” rather than Wall Street. The ad features footage of Big Bird with a faux-ominous voiceover describing him as “a menace to our economy.”

But Big Bird stubbornly refuses to be anyone’s political pawn: Within hours of the video’s release, Sesame Workshop issued a statement requesting the spot be pulled.

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