Poll: 83 percent of voters support keeping FCC's net neutrality rules

Poll: 83 percent of voters support keeping FCC's net neutrality rules
© Greg Nash

More than 80 percent of voters oppose the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to repeal its net neutrality rules, according to a new poll from the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation.

The survey presented respondents with detailed arguments from both supporters and opponents of the repeal plan, before asking them where they stood on the rules. It found that 83 percent overall favored keeping the FCC rules, including 75 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Democrats and 86 percent of independents.

“A decision to repeal net neutrality would be tacking against strong headwinds of public opinion blowing in the opposite direction,” Steven Kull, the director of the university program, said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

The school said that its questionnaire had been vetted for accuracy by experts on both sides of the debate.

The FCC is expected to do away with its Obama-era regulations on Thursday. The rules prevent internet service providers from discriminating against web content or making websites pay for faster delivery speeds.

When the repeal plan goes into effect, internet providers will no longer be prohibited from engaging in discriminatory practices, but the FCC will require them to be transparent about how they handle web traffic. And, as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai argues, the Federal Trade Commission will be able to take action against companies that deceive their customers or harm competition.

The survey, which was published on Monday and reported earlier by The Washington Post, also asked respondents what they thought of each argument.

Overall, 48 percent of all voters found the argument to repeal the rules convincing and 51 percent found it unconvincing. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans found the argument convincing, compared with 35 percent of Democrats.

Three-quarters of all voters found the argument in favor of keeping the rules convincing, including 72 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats.

The poll surveyed 1,077 registered voters online from Dec. 6-8. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.