Poll: Americans Tilt Toward Military Spending Cuts

Shaving spending wins a plurality of public support, but sharp partisan divide remains.

PARRIS ISLAND, SC - JUNE 22: Female Marine Corps recruits pratice drill at the United States Marine Corps recruit depot June 22, 2004 in Parris Island, South Carolina. Marine Corps boot camp, with its combination of strict discipline and exhaustive physical training, is considered the most rigorous of the armed forces recruit training. Congress is currently considering bills that could increase the size of the Marine Corps and the Army to help meet US military demands in Iraq and Afghanistan.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Feb. 27, 2014, 6:32 a.m.

A slim plur­al­ity of Amer­ic­ans wants to cut mil­it­ary spend­ing, ac­cord­ing to a Gal­lup Poll re­leased Thursday.

Thirty-sev­en per­cent said too much is spent on the mil­it­ary, com­pared with 28 per­cent who think the Pentagon is get­ting too little. Thirty-two per­cent of Amer­ic­ans say cur­rent spend­ing levels are on tar­get.

And those num­bers have re­mained fairly con­sist­ent in re­cent years, even as the Pentagon’s budget has been scaled back due to con­gres­sion­al spend­ing caps.

But there is a polit­ic­al gap on how much money the United States should put to­ward de­fense. Fifty-one per­cent of Demo­crats — but only 20 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans and 37 per­cent of in­de­pend­ents — be­lieve too much is spent on the mil­it­ary.

Gal­lup’s Poll was con­duc­ted from Feb. 6-9, with tele­phone in­ter­views of 1,023 adults. The mar­gin of er­ror was plus or minus 4 per­cent­age points.

The res­ults come as the Pentagon pre­pares to un­veil its fisc­al 2015 budget re­quest next week. De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel offered a pre­view Monday, and Pentagon of­fi­cials have ap­peared at a hand­ful of events around Wash­ing­ton to de­fend the pro­pos­al.

But mem­bers of Con­gress are already op­pos­ing a num­ber of pro­vi­sions in the budget, in­clud­ing a re­quest for a round of base clos­ures, the elim­in­a­tion of the A-10 fleet, and the scal­ing back of the act­ive Army to 440,000 from 450,000.

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