26 February 2018

AAN Releases Memo On Net Neutrality


While tax reform remains the most important issue in the center-right legislative agenda, there have been many questions about net neutrality over the past several months. As with tax reform, there is a lot of misinformation about this issue. AAN commissioned a national survey from The Tarrance Group to help conservative leaders understand net neutrality.

Attached are the findings from the national survey. The survey also showed a close generic ballot (42.5% Democrat, 37.5% Republican) with 43% of Americans approving of the job President Trump is doing and 52% disapproving.

When discussing net neutrality, Americans are most concerned about privacy and that’s a good issue for conservatives to emphasize. The key is ensuring that all the companies involved in the Internet play by the same rules in a way that protects individuals.

The Tarrance Group is pleased to present the American Action Network with the key findings from a survey of voter attitudes on the issue of net neutrality. These key findings are based on telephone interviews with N=1,010 “likely” registered voters throughout the country. Responses to this survey were gathered February17-22, 2018 and the margin of error associated with a sample of this type is + 3.1% in 95 out of 100 cases.

  • The American electorate does not profess to be particularly familiar with the issue of net neutrality.  Less than one in four voters, twenty-two percent (22%) indicate they believe they are very familiar with the issue, while 38% believe they are somewhat familiar with the issue, and there are 40% who are not at all familiar with the issue of net neutrality.
  • A large portion of the electorate operates under the misperception that all of the different entities involved in the internet, and not just ISPs, are covered by the rules of net neutrality.
  • Almost half of voters across the country, forty-six percent (46%) indicate that they believe that the rules of net neutrality apply to both internet service providers and internet companies alike.  Only two in ten voters, twenty-one percent (21%) are aware that net neutrality rules only apply to internet service providers. Among those who say they are familiar with net neutrality, sixty percent (60%) believe the rules apply to all companies.
  • The American electorate is deeply concerned about respect for the privacy of their personal information, especially when it comes to social media.  A majority of voters across the country, fifty-one percent (51%) believe that social media companies do not respect the privacy of their personal information, but the inverse is true as it relates to internet service providers, with fifty-one percent (51%) of respondents indicating internet service provides do respect the privacy of their personal information.
  • The American electorate indicates that it favors a clear and concise legislative solution that covers all internet companies, as opposed to simply reinstating the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules on ISPs.  Respondents were asked if they would favor or oppose Congress “passing new legislation that not only puts the basic components of net neutrality permanently into law, it also should make sure that all companies on the internet, not just AT&T and Verizon, but companies like Google and Facebook as well, treat users in a fair and neutral manner and protect your privacy.”
New Legislation Restore
Net Neutrality
All voters 52% 28% 10%
Republicans 61% 19% 8%
Democrats 46% 40% 8%
Independents 50% 19% 16%
  • Beyond this fundamental support for a legislative solution, voters react in strong positive terms to the “outcomes” and reforms that would come from a legislative solution to this issue.
  • The chart on the following page shows the reaction of voters to the outcomes and reforms that would come from a legislative solution as measured by the metric of whether it would make them more likely or less likely to support a legislative solution.
More likely
Less likely
Every internet service provider like AT&T and Comcast would need to disclose accurate and relevant information in plain language regarding the price, performance, and network management practices of its services
Consumers would be guaranteed the freedom to use any personal devices and apps they want on the internet
Internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon, social media apps like Facebook, and search engines like Google would all have to follow thesame rules to protect your privacy and the security of your data
Internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon could not block or slow down websites or services that consumers access on the internet
Companies like Google and Facebook would be required to be transparent, and fully disclose their practices on censorship, child protection, and prohibiting the use of their services for illegal activities
To ensure a level playing field for all competitors, there would be one set of rules that applied to all internet companies – an internet consumer bill of rights

Courtney Parella

Communications Director