Survey: Net Neutrality Could Be Midterm Issue

Net neutrality could be the midterm election issue supporters of strong rules are hoping for, at least if legislators are looking to capitalize on the issue, positioning is key.

That is according to a poll commissioned by the Internet Freedom Business Alliance, an alliance of startups and small businesses advocating for strong net neutrality rules.

The poll found that "voters overwhelmingly say they support net neutrality, that a majority say they will take it into account during the election, that independent and undecided voters are more likely to vote for members who act immediately to force a vote to overturn the FCC and restore net neutrality protections, and that such voters are more likely to oppose incumbents when it is pointed out that they have not helped overturn the FCC and restore net neutrality."

Critics of the current FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom order repealing regs against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization have been trying to repeal that repeal via a Congressional Review Act resolution nullifying the order. It passed the Senate narrowly, but lacks dozens of votes in the House, including from some Democrats.

The survey, from IMGE Insights, polled in four "battleground" districts in California (the 25th), Colorado (sixth), Florida (18th), and New York (19th). Respondents in those districts favored net neutrality.

Given the wording of the questions, the results appear to focus on how the issue should be branded and positioned with voters by legislative opponents of the FCC deregulation. For example, here is the phrasing of one of the key questions.

“If your Congressman refused to help force a vote to overturn the FCC and restore net neutrality protections and his Democratic challenger pointed out that such inaction demonstrates that he gave in to special interests and big cable companies like Comcast and AT&T - and in so doing put individuals and small businesses at a disadvantage - would that make you more or less likely to vote for him?"

As to whether voters favor a vote to overturn the FCC, the question begins: “As you may know, the FCC recently got rid of these net neutrality protections..."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.