Defense cuts find plenty of love with public

A vast majority of Americans from across the political spectrum think significant reductions in defense spending are in order, according to a data from a new survey released this week.

In districts represented by Republicans, 74 percent of those polled favored cutting defense, while in Democrat-run districts 80 percent were in favor of significant reductions in the military’s budget, according to the survey.  Red-district respondents called for cutting the Defense Department budget by 15 percent, while those in Democrat-controlled districts wanted 22-percent reductions – and in both cases that was true even in areas benefiting from military employers.

“The idea that Americans would want to keep total defense spending up so as to preserve local jobs is not supported by the data,” said Steven Kull, director of the Program for Public Consultation. PPC conducted the study in coordination with the Stimson Center and the Center for Public Integrity.

There were some partisan differences: Those responding from blue districts wanted bigger cuts to missile defense and naval force, while Americans in red districts called for more cuts to military health care.

In taking the survey, respondents received information about the defense budget and were given the opportunity to read multiple pro and con arguments about the military budget like those circulating on Capitol Hill, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

The results of the survey come as lawmakers and other Washington insiders are convening a number of hearings and meetings to discuss the potential fallout of sequestration.

If enacted in January, sequestration would mandate across-the-board cuts in government spending, including some $500 billion from DOD’s budget over the next 10 years. High-level DOD officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, have repeatedly blasted sequestration as a doomsday scenario that would devastate the military and jeopardize national security.

At 15 percent and 22 percent, the cuts called for by Americans in the survey exceed those that would come as a result of sequestration.

It remains to be seen if those constituent wishes will be reflected in the next defense budget, which has yet to be passed and could end up not passing until next year. While Senate leaders have said their version of the budget would be similar to that proposed by President Obama, Republicans have said they would add more to the budget, CPI noted.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

Reader Comments

Thu, Jul 19, 2012

I would be interested to hear the information on how many were polled and in what areas cause in my mind, most Americans don't agree with applying blanket cuts to the DOD. They may be in favor of reduced funding for certain DOD areas but certainly not in just apply a budget cut wihtout knowing what is getting cut. I am a government worker and can say, definitively, there are many wasted tax dollars that should be captured before cutting budgets of legitamate departments. That is not to say DOD don't waste money but seriously, when is politician going to grow some Kahunas and start tackling wasted government money? In my office alone, I can think of 2-3 projects in the last couple of years that were a complete and utter waste of nearly 5 million dollars. Of course, most politicians are yes men and simply tell you what you want to hear and have no substance in their statments. Their only concern for their career.This same philosophy rolls down hill into all the nonelected positions - people with no Kahunas to make the US better. Only concern that the spotlight may shine on them for reasons they don't want - great lengths to avoid conflict, which is required for real change.

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 electedface United States

I'm sorry, but everyone in America now knows that if one is in debt, and has bills to pay, unnecessary spending is the first to go. Take the F22 for example. The F 22 has not been used in a combat despite the initial introduction of this jet in 2005. The last of the 188 planes rolled off the assembly line in April of 2012. It has cost The United States more than $64 billion, more than double the initial expected cost. This video sums it up:

Wed, Jul 18, 2012

I understand this is what the American people want, and I agree that the American people should definitely have a say in how taxpayer dollars are spent. However, when the Defense Secretary calls this a "doomsday scenario", that should wake people up. What about cutting programs like for farmers who get paid to not farm their land (which would bring the price of food down)? Some farmers get paid millions of dollars not to farm...does that make sense?

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 R. Lawson Tampa, FL

We should increase DEFENSE spending but slash OFFENSE spending. We have military installations across the globe, many now in regions that are stable. Let's get out of Europe, focus on the Pacific, and get out of the middle east. The problem isn't defense spending, since so little of our military budget is spent protecting our nation. The CIA stirs up more problems than they solve, constantly meddling and creating a situation that lead to war. The CIA isn't an intelligence agency any more. Its an interventionist agency. We need to focus on our own security. We need energy independence now. The money we spent on Iraq and Afghanistan was enough to install solar panels on every single family American home. Enough to end power bills for 50 years. Instead, we are fighting over oil. Stupid. Our government isn't protecting us. They are making our world less safe and all in the name of democracy. It's really just fascism and corporations doing what is in their financial interests.

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 Clint

Why isn't there a study done to see how much of the country favors ridding Congress of free health care for life, slef-imposed pay raises cronyism? As a military veteran of 22 years it irks me to see anyone serve one term on Capital Hill and get health care for life paid by my tax dollars.

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