Another leftist myth has been debunked and shown to be a farce: the myth that a majority of Americans support deep defense spending cuts.
You may remember, folks, that last year, the University of Maryland and the extremely leftist “Center for Public Integrity” commissioned a rigged poll which claimed that 66% of Americans supported cutting defense spending to the tune of $100 bn per year. Anti-defense groups such as the misnamed, Soros-funded “Project on Government Oversight”, and anti-defense writers such as Micah Zenko falsely claimed on that basis that most Americans support deep defense spending cuts, including sequestration.
There were, however, other polls saying something completely different, including one by the National Journal and one commissioned by the Foreign Policy Initiative.
Then, earlier this year, Pew conducted a poll showing that 73% of Americans oppose any cuts to defense spending (and similar percentages oppose cutting anything else).
And most recently, Gallup has released a poll showing that 36% of Americans believe the US spends the right amount of money on defense and another 26% think the US, if anything, isn’t spending enough – so in total, 62% of Americans oppose cutting defense. According to Gallup, only 35% of Americans think the US spends too much.
Moreover, the “don’t cut defense spending” view is held even more widely among the Independent and Republican electorates. 73% of Indies and 78% of Republicans share this pro-defense view, believing the US spends the right amount or an insufficient one.
Only among the Democrats does a majority think the US spends too much – and even among them, it’s barely a majority (51%). See here for details.
Gallup’s poll’s results mean that there is NO popular demand for defense cuts today, unlike the Vietnam War years and the late 1980s. All of that despite over 40 years of uncessant anti-defense leftist propaganda (particularly intense in the last 5 years). Gallup tells us that:
- “In the late 1960s and early 1970s as the United States was fighting the Vietnam War, Americans’ dominant view was that the U.S. was spending too much on defense.
- In 1981, just after Ronald Reagan took office after making concerns about U.S. military strength in light of the Iranian hostage situation and the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan a major theme of his presidential campaign, Americans shifted to the view that too little was spent on defense.
- As the Reagan administration built up military spending in the 1980s, Americans again came to believe the U.S. was spending too much in this area.
- Near the end of the Clinton administration, as the government made an effort to reduce military spending and George W. Bush’s presidential campaign questioned U.S. military strength, an increasing number of Americans said the United States was spending too little on defense.
- In the first several years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which included U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans most commonly said defense spending was “about right.”
- Over the last five years, Americans have alternated in their views between believing the U.S. spends too much and believing it spends the right amount on defense, including this year, when roughly equal percentages of Americans hold each view.”
But what Gallup doesn’t tell us is that, in addition to the 36% of Americans who think the level of defense spending is “about right”, another 26% think the US isn’t spending enough, meaning that 62% of Americans – almost two-thirds of the society – oppose defense cuts.
This debunks yet another myth being spread by the left. Not only is defense spending NOT bloated, not only would deep cuts to it severely weaken the military (as sequestration is already beginning to do), not only would such cuts utterly fail to meaningfully reduce the budget deficit or attract new voters to the GOP, but also they are very unpopular: the vast majority of Americans OPPOSE them. There is NO popular demand for such policy, unlike the Vietnam War years – the time of the “guns vs butter” debates – and the late 1980s.
Not only that, but in contrast to the Vietnam War years and the 1970s, the US military is now held by the majority of the public, including 54% of young Americans, in very high regard.