WASHINGTON — On Thursday, the University of Maryland released a public survey that found nearly two-thirds of Republican voters support reinstating Net Neutrality protections.
The findings show a disconnect between Republican lawmakers and their political base at a time when the phone and cable industry has been lobbying Washington against open-internet safeguards, including funding a smear campaign against President Biden's nominee to the Federal Communications Commission, Gigi Sohn, who supports Net Neutrality.
The university's Program for Public Consultation presented people with arguments on both sides of the Net Neutrality debate and then asked them which they would support. It found that 65 percent of Republicans favored reinstating Net Neutrality rules; 82 percent of Democrats said the same, according to the results.
Free Press Action Co-CEO Craig Aaron said:
"The numbers speak for themselves: The American public wants real Net Neutrality. It's a public disgrace that so many in Washington have chosen to ignore the will of people back home in favor of the well-heeled industry lobbyists who come knocking every day.
"The public wants Net Neutrality safeguards like those that were repealed in 2017 by the Trump FCC. And they want them now. The best thing the Democrats who still control the Senate can do is to quickly confirm Gigi Sohn to fill the fifth seat at the commission. Sohn is a devoted public servant who advocates for policies and programs that will improve people’s lives, including reinstating the Title II classification for ISPs that would restore Net Neutrality protections.
“Despite popular support for the issue and the nominee, Sohn has faced an ugly and coordinated right-wing media smear campaign, which has been on full display in the Op-Ed pages of The Wall Street Journal, Fox News and Breitbart News.
"Net Neutrality never should have been made a partisan issue. And as this new polling again makes clear, it isn’t partisan outside of the machinations of a handful of highly paid phone and cable industry operatives based in Washington and the front groups that take their money.
"The American people have had to wait too long for action to restore these vital open-internet safeguards. Congress must move quickly to confirm Sohn so we can have a fully functional FCC. We can’t let cynical political maneuvers from obstructionist lawmakers and industry-aligned hacks further delay the agency's ability to give people the Net Neutrality protections they are demanding."