e_PRINTS


Americans on Defense Spending - A Study of US Public Attitudes:
Report of Findings

Program on International Policy Attitudes

January 19, 1996
Steven Kull, Principal Investigator


Contents:

Executive Summary
Introduction
Key Findings
Conclusion
Appendix A - Demographic Variations
Appendix B - How the Study Was Conducted
Appendix C - Questionnaire and Results



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Since the end of the Cold War, American policymakers have debated about the proper role of US military forces in the world and the requisite level of US defense spending. Budgetary pressures have increased the demand for defense cuts, but the Clinton administration has said defense spending is 'off the table' in the current budget negotiations, and the Republican Congress has pushed for increases in defense spending. Meanwhile, the public has been largely a silent partner in this debate.

To find out more about public attitudes on defense spending in general, as well as the specific question of budget cuts, the Program on International Policy Attitudes carried our a study that included:

a nationwide poll of 1,207 adults conducted November 18-25, 1995 (margin of error +/-3-4%) focus groups in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Kalamazoo, Michigan a review of existing polling data The key findings of the study are as follows:

1. A large majority of Americans favors a strong defense. This majority feels that the US has global interests that need to be protected with a world-wide military presence, and wants to maintain existing US commitments to protect other countries. Most Americans have a positive feeling toward the US military.

2. When Americans think about US defense preparation in the context of potential threats, most Americans propose a level of preparation far lower than the present US level. Asked to prescribe US defense spending levels relative to its potential enemies, an overwhelming majority sets levels far below actual spending levels. A majority rejects the notion (central to current US force planning) that the US needs to be prepared to fight two major regional wars simultaneously without the help of allies.

3. When Americans think about defense preparation in a budgetary context, a modest majority favors significant cuts in the defense budget--the median respondent feels that the defense budget can be cut 10% The majority feels that defense should be cut as part of efforts to balance the budget. If the President and Congress decide to make deep cuts of up to 20% in defense spending, a very strong majority would support them.

4. Support for cuts in defense spending is sustained by the belief that the US military is adequately prepared for existing threats, a lack of concern about Russia, suspicions that the defense establishment and Congress are promoting excessive defense spending, the belief that the current level of defense spending weakens the US economy, and opposition to the US carrying the burden of a 'world policeman' role.

5. To reduce US defense spending, while still maintaining US security commitments and its global interests, very strong majorities want to put more emphasis on multilateral approaches to security. Strong majorities would like to strengthen the UN's collective security role and feel that doing so will diminish demands on the US. They are also generally willing to contribute US troops to UN-sponsored collective security efforts.



INTRODUCTION

The end of the Cold War and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union has forced a reevaluation of the role of US military forces and the requisite level of US defense spending. With the demise of the Soviet threat and growing budgetary pressures, many Americans looked forward to a 'peace dividend'--a substantial cut in defense spending.

Indeed, defense budgets were cut for several years in a row, coming down nearly 25% (in adjusted dollars) since 1989. Eventually, though, voices in Congress insisted that the cuts had gone far enough. There were warnings that the readiness of US troops was being eroded. Resurgent militarism in Russia as well as the frightening face of terrorism created anxiety. For some, the Gulf War was evidence of the continuing need for hefty US forces and large defense budgets to support them. Above all, it was argued, the US needs to guard against unforeseen threats. And then there was the concern about jobs being lost to defense cuts.

Others offered counter-arguments, though, suggesting that the US could still cut defense further: Despite the resurgence of militarism in Russia in some minority parties, the Russian government had cut back its military much further than the US; While terrorism was a problem, it could not be addressed by large defense budgets; The Gulf War had only shown how overwhelmingly superior US military forces are. Also, it was argued, no serious threat to the US to justify defense budgets that were still larger, in constant dollars, than US defense budgets for much of the Cold War.

In the 1992 election, Bill Clinton campaigned on a platform calling for further defense cuts. However, soon after coming into office the Clinton administration carried out the "Bottom Up Review" which concluded that defense spending should be sustained at approximately current levels. The rationale for this position was a newly-established criterion for sizing US forces: it called for the US to have the capability to fight two regional wars simultaneously, similar to the Gulf War, without the help of allies. Some objected that this requirement was excessive: the probability that two such conflicts would occur simultaneously was exceedingly remote and that it was time for the US to rely more on its allies rather than playing the role of world policeman by itself. But with bipartisan support, the two-war requirement became policy and increasingly became the core rationale for defense sizing.

After the Republican victories in the 1994 midterm elections, the Clinton administration moved further away from its original support for defense cuts. In December 1994, it added $25 billion to the six-year defense budget and then, in the State of the Union address in early 1995, President Clinton announced that defense cuts would be 'off the table' in the effort to arrive at a new budget and to cut the deficit.

The newly-Republican Congress pushed for increases in defense spending as called for in the Republican Contract With America. Congressional Republicans added $7 billion to the Defense Appropriation bill beyond what was proposed by the Pentagon. The Clinton administration considered vetoing the bill primarily because of this $7 billion add-on, but did ultimately allow it to become law in December 1995 influenced in part by Clinton's desire to get Congressional approval for sending US troops to Bosnia. He did, however, veto the defense authorization bill that spelled out how the money would be spent.

Implicit in the debates about defense spending has been a larger debate about America's role in the post Cold War world. Does the US still have global interests justifying a global military presence? During the Cold War the US made numerous commitments to protect countries from aggression: should the US continue to maintain these commitments? Should the US size its forces on the assumption that it will fulfill its commitments by itself or as part of a multilateral operation? The Bottom-Up Review effectively answered these questions, saying that US forces should be sized so that the US has the capability to protect its global interests and to protect other countries by itself and in more than one theater at once.

But how does the public feel about these larger questions and about their implications for the budget? The public has been largely a silent partner in this debate, despite the significant consequences to the public's interests both in terms of its security and the wrenching trade-offs that are part of the battle over the budget.

To find out more about public attitudes on these issues the Program on International Policy Attitudes carried out a study of American public attitudes on US defense spending. It included:

a nationwide poll of 1,207 adults conducted November 18-25, 1995 (margin of error +/-3-4%)
focus groups in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Kalamazoo, Michigan
a review of existing polling data

The key findings of the study are as follows:


1.

A large majority of Americans favors a strong defense. This majority feels that the US has global interests that need to be protected with a world-wide military presence, and wants to maintain existing US commitments to protect other countries. Most Americans have a positive feeling toward the US military.

Support for Strong Defense

There is a strong consensus that America's role in the world requires it to have a strong defense. Seventy-two percent agreed with the argument that "because the US has global interests, it is important for the US to maintain a large military with the capacity to project its forces around the world." Similarly, in an October 1994 poll by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, 89% said that it is somewhat (39%) or very (50%) important for the US to maintain "superior military power worldwide." Only 9% said it was not important. Such findings are consistent with other polls that show a strong majority of Americans rejects the idea that the US should withdraw from the world.

An overwhelming majority rejects the idea of abandoning US commitments to protect other countries (though, as we shall discuss below, Americans do not want the US to be world policeman). Only 7% in the PIPA poll said, "The US should withdraw its commitments to protect other countries and should just protect the US." In the October 1994 poll by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, only 7% said that "Defending our allies security" is not important, while 90% said it is very (41%) or somewhat (49%) important.

In the focus groups, there was very little sentiment in favor of withdrawing US commitments to protect other countries. For some this attitude seemed to be derived from a sense of moral obligation while for others it was derived more from a sense of national self interest. A woman in Atlanta explained:

There are people who know a lot more than I do who made these treaties, and as far as I'm concerned, they were made on the basis of US interest. . . We're very interested in our own well-being. We didn't go fight in Kuwait because we love the Kuwaitis. We went over there because our oil interests were threatened. . . The reason we have troops in South Korea today is because our interests are at stake.

Concerns about threats from rogue states contribute very powerfully to support for a strong defense. An overwhelming 90% agreed with the argument that "the US needs to maintain a strong defense" because "even though the Cold War is over, there are still countries in the world such as Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea, some of which may have weapons of mass destruction and could threaten US interests." Similarly, in an April 1993 CBS/New York Times poll 59% agreed that despite reforms in Russia "the existence of threats from countries like Iran and Iraq means US defense spending cannot be reduced dramatically."

Most Americans want US defense capabilities to be quite robust. Seventy-two percent of the PIPA sample agreed that "it is better to err in the direction of having too much rather than too little defense." Fifty-seven percent said they want "to keep designing and building more technologically advanced weapons. Otherwise, a sudden new threat might find us unprepared." However, the argument, popular in defense circles, in support of the Seawolf submarine and the B2 bomber, that:

If defense contractors stop building certain weapons, it would be hard to get those industries geared up
again in the future.  Therefore, even if some of the weapons may not be strategically necessary right
now we should continue to produce them. Things might change so that we need them later. 

elicited a divided response with 49% agreeing and 49% disagreeing with this argument.

Naturally, the question arises how much defense is enough for a strong defense and whether such a level of sufficiency even exists. Apparently, for the majority such a level exists and the US has already reached that level. Sixty-nine percent agreed with the argument that US defense capabilities "have reached the point where enough is enough." However, 27% disagreed with this argument. In the focus groups, some participants expressed the feeling that there can never be too much defense spending. An Atlanta woman who prefaced her comments by saying "I'm a little biased because I work for a defense contractor" expressed this minority view:

I kind of view defense spending as an insurance policy...I feel like you can never have enough insurance for whatever disaster might happen to you. My brother died just recently, and I know firsthand that you can never have enough insurance for whatever disaster might happen to you. So I feel that about our military aircraft and equipment, artillery, whatever, I don't think you could ever have too much.

Another source of support for a strong defense is concern about terrorism. In the October 1994 poll by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, 69% said they view terrorism as a "critical" threat and another 25% said they view it as an "important" threat. This concern for terrorism can be directed to support for a strong defense. In the PIPA poll, 65% agreed with the argument that:

Today there are numerous terrorist organizations that are hostile toward the US.  To keep up its guard
against these threats, the US at least needs to maintain defense spending at current levels.

When respondents in an open-ended question were asked what threats the US military is not adequately prepared for, "terrorism" was one of the most frequent answers, with some respondents specifically mentioning domestic events such as the Oklahoma City bombing or the World Trade Center bombing.

However, this concern about terrorism is not a resilient source of support for defense spending. A separate half sample was asked to choose between the above-mentioned argument in favor of defense spending based on concerns about terrorism and another argument that said:

The US should do everything it can through the CIA and  anti-terrorist units to try to meet the threat of
terrorism.  However, spending lots of money on defense for regular military forces does not address the
problem because terrorists do not engage military forces directly.

In this case, support for the first argument only garnered 31% support while 64% agreed with the counterargument.

Positive Attitude Toward Military

Americans also have a very positive attitude toward the US armed forces. Rating their feelings on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very negative and 10 being very positive, the PIPA poll found that the median score was 8.

An overwhelming majority is also very concerned about protecting the lives of American soldiers. Eighty-seven percent agreed that, "The US should be willing to spend whatever is necessary to have the best technology to protect soldiers' lives during war time."



2.

When Americans think about US defense preparation in the context of potential threats, most Americans propose a level of preparation far lower than the present US level. Asked to prescribe US defense spending levels relative to its potential enemies, an overwhelming majority sets levels far below actual spending levels. A majority rejects the notion (central to current US force planning) that the US should be prepared to fight two major regional wars simultaneously without the help of allies.

Naturally, it is quite difficult for most Americans to get a firm grasp on the question of how much defense preparation is enough. Most Americans do not know how much money is actually spent on defense, and if they know the number of dollars spent, it is not likely to be very meaningful to them (though in focus groups when they heard the number they were generally amazed that it was so high).

There are, however, two general ways that respondents can meaningfully respond to this question. The most common way, and the one with the most political currency, is to have respondents think in terms of the budgetary context i.e. to ask them their feelings about the present level of spending (without necessarily specifying what that level is)--this method will be explored in depth below. Another way is to ask respondents to think in terms of the strategic context, i.e. to ask them what an appropriate level of preparation would be relative to potential threats or conflicts. In the PIPA poll, we tried two approaches to the strategic context by asking respondents how much the US should spend relative to its potential enemies and how many regional wars it should be able to fight at the same time on its own.

Spending Relative to Potential Enemies

Respondents were asked how much "the US should spend on defense as compared to its potential enemies," and were told, "For discussion's sake, let's include as potential enemies Russia, China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, and Libya." A plurality of 48% answered that "the US should spend a bit more than its most powerful potential enemy." Twenty-nine percent answered, "about as much as all its potential enemies combined." Only 7% answered that the US should spend "about twice as much as all its potential enemies combined."

In fact, the US does spend approximately twice as much as all its potential enemies combined. There is some controversy about how to compare the spending levels of different countries. According to the method used by the International Institute of Strategic Studies in The Military Balance, the US spends a bit more than twice as much as these countries combined. According to the method used by the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the US spends a bit less than twice as much.

The fact that respondents favored a much lower level of relative spending than is the case might lead one to conclude that the public favors very deep cuts in defense spending. Relative to potential enemies, 77% propose a level of spending approximately half the current level or less. But, as we shall see below, when Americans consider the defense budget itself, they do not favor such deep cuts. This apparent discrepancy, points to a plausible interpretation--Americans greatly underestimate the magnitude of America's defense preparation relative to its potential enemies.

Two-War Requirement

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1993, the Pentagon conducted a "Bottom-Up Review" to establish a new criterion for sizing US forces. According to this new criterion, the US should be able to fight and win two major regional wars simultaneously without the help of allies. This criterion has been controversial because the requirement of being able to win two such wars causes the defense budget to be $50 to $80 billion more than it would be if the requirement was just one war. Respondents were asked about the two-war policy in two ways because the com-plexity of the subject required double-checking. The first half sample was asked first about whether they supported the US having the ability to fight one regional war, and then was asked about two. The second half sample was simply asked to choose between having the capability to fight one war or two.

When the first half sample was asked whether the US should have the capability to "fight a war the size of the Gulf War involving several hundred thousand troops by itself" or if "having a military force this size would be excessive," 58% said the US should have such a capability while 37% said that even this one-war capability would be excessive. Respondents who said the US should have such a one-war capability, or who said "don't know," were then asked whether the US should have the capability to fight two such wars. Of this group, only 38% said the US should have such a capability, while 60% said it would be excessive. Thus, only 23% of the total half sample said the US should have a two-war capability, while 74% rejected it.

The second half sample was simply asked to choose between having the capability to win one or two "wars about the size of the Gulf War at the same time, without the help of allies." In this context, the two-war requirement fared a bit better. Thirty-nine percent favored having the capability to win two such wars, but still a majority of 53% favored preparing for only one war.

When respondents who supported the two-war requirement, or who said "don't know," had their view challenged by hearing the marginal cost of having a two-war capability, support dropped. Respondents were told that a two-war capability costs $50 to $80 billion more than a one-war capability and were asked whether "it would be worth the extra cost." Among the first half sample, 25% of those asked this follow-on question said it would not be worth the cost, while 13% said they did not know, thus lowering the total number supporting the two-war requirement to 17%. Among the second half sample, 43% of those asked this follow-on question said it would not be worth the cost, while 7% said they did not know, thus lowering the total number in support to 24%.

This reluctance to invest in the capability to fight two regional wars without the help of allies was consistent with responses to specific regional war scenarios. As will be discussed in greater depth below, Americans show great reluctance to fight any regional war without the help of allies. In the case of an attack on South Korea by North Korea, while a strong majority would support participation in a multilateral operation, it would not support a unilateral US operation to defend South Korea. Even in the case of an attack on Saudi Arabia by Iraq, support for a unilateral US operation to defend Saudi Arabia is quite equivocal.

When respondents were asked a broader question about whether the US "should size its forces on the assumption that when there are threats to world security, our allies and other UN members will do their share," the response was more divided. A slight majority of 52% said that "Sizing our forces to the assumption that we will have to act on our own... puts too great a burden on the US. We should only make our forces big enough to do our share." Forty-five percent agreed that "We cannot assume allies or other UN members will be there to help. We should size our military forces on the assumption that we will have to act on our own."

The Americans Talk Issues Foundation has done a significant amount of polling on the two-war requirement. The first series of questions was conducted in a July 1994 poll. Unlike the PIPA poll, it began by telling respondents that the US defense budget is based on a requirement to fight two regional wars without the help of allies. It then posed the counter-argument that the US should not undertake any large-scale regional wars on its own. Respondents were then asked whether the US should "count on the UN or at least the key nations in the region and in the world, to be reliable allies when and if we decide it is really necessary to fight a large-scale regional war." A strong majority of 68% said that the US should count on other countries while 30% said it should not. (The fact that this response in favor of counting on allies was so much higher than in the PIPA question mentioned in the previous paragraph may be due in part to the clarification in the ATIF poll that the US would not be counting on allies to defend the US itself, only to participate in a regional war.)

Respondents who did not say the US should rely on allies were then presented the argument about whether the US should be able to fight two regional wars, including the argument that the US could save $60 billion if it only had the requirement of winning one war. Only 24% of this sub-sample embraced the two-war requirement, thus suggesting that only 7% of the total sample would support it.

In a June 1995 poll, ATIF got more complex results by dividing the sample into two half samples (A and B) and presenting similar but differently worded questions. Both half samples were initially asked a broader question about whether the US should base its military budget on the assumption that the UN or a group of allies will join in fighting a regional war. In both cases, a majority said saying the US should not do so, while for half sample B, it was 65% to 34%.

Both half samples were then presented a set of arguments about whether the US should have a two-war capability without specifying that this is US policy. With half sample A, the arguments centered on whether it was likely that the US would face two regional wars at once. This produced a divided response of 50% saying that the US should be able to fight two such wars and 48% saying that it is not necessary. With half sample B, the arguments emphasized, on one hand, the threat of rogue dictators and on the other hand, the idea that the US can no longer be the world's policeman. In this case, respondents firmly rejected the two-war requirement 61% to 36%.

Both half samples were then told that, in fact, the two-war requirement is US policy. Half sample A was told that it has been US policy for 40 years, while half sample B was told that both Democrats and Republicans embrace this policy. In both half samples, a bare majority approved the policy--51% to 48% for half sample A and 51% to 46% for half sample B.

In summary, the polling data as a whole suggests that when Americans are asked to consider what US defense requirements should be, a modest majority does not prescribe the requirement of the US winning two wars on its own without the help of allies and embraces the idea that US defense planning can be based on the assumption that the UN or allies will participate in fighting regional wars. When the issue of the two-war requirement is presented as a debate, support for the two war requirement becomes a bit stronger, but most still lean toward opposing it. When the two-war requirement is presented as US policy and is thus legitimated, sometimes a slight majority will approve of it, but when presented in the context of the larger issue of whether the US should take action on its own, a majority rejects the idea that the US should prepare to fight on its own. And when specific scenarios are presented, support for unilateral US action in the event allies decline to participate (the contingency on which the two-war requirement is based) is extremely low.



3.

When Americans think about defense preparation in a budgetary context, a modest majority favors significant cuts in the defense budget--the median respondent feels that the defense budget can be cut 10%. The majority feels that defense should be cut as part of efforts to balance the budget. If the President and Congress decide to make deep cuts of up to 20% in defense spending, a very strong majority would support them.

Respondents were asked, "is it your sense that US defense spending is less than it needs to be, more than it needs to or about right?" Initially, 42% said that it is more than it needs to be, 23% said that it is less than it needs to be, while 31% said it is about right. Those that said it is about right were then asked which way they lean. After this iteration, the total saying that defense spending is more than it needs to be went up to 53%, those saying it is less than it needs to be went up to 32%, while 10% still said that spending is about right.

Respondents who said spending is more than it needs to be were asked, "By what percentage do you think defense spending can be safely reduced?" The median response was 20%. Those who said that spending is less than it needs to be were asked, "By what percentage do you think the defense budget should be increased?" The median response was 15%. For the whole sample, the median response was that defense spending can be cut 10%.

The most recent poll that asked about preferred levels of defense spending was the June 1995 ATIF poll which found similar results. Initially, it found that a plurality of 42% felt that defense spending was "too much," 40% felt it was "about the right amount," while 15% said "it was too little." Later in the questionnaire, after a series of questions about defense spending, the question was repeated. Those saying that spending was "too much" edged up to 46%, those saying it was "too little" edged down to 13%, while the 40% saying "right amount" stayed constant.

Those saying "too little" or "too much" were then told that the defense budget is now 261 billion dollars and were asked by how much they would "increase" or "cut" the defense budget. Among those who wanted to increase, the mean response was $38.9 billion, while for those wanting to cut, the mean response was $74.7 billion. Adding in those who had said that spending was about right, the mean level proposed for the entire sample was a cut of $29.3 billion--similar to the 10% cut proposed by the median respondent in the PIPA poll. Also, in a January 1995 poll by Eric Luntz, respondents roughly divided (46% in favor, 49% opposed) on the proposal for a $20 billion cut.

Over the last year, other polls have found comparable results. In three different polls by CBS/New York Times (February 1995), and Times Mirror (December 1994 and February 1995), respondents were offered three options of maintaining current levels, cutting or increasing. In all three cases, the highest number (44-63%) opted for maintaining current levels, and in two out of three cases the next most popular option was to cut (18-24%), though in one case support for spending more reached 31%. Another poll by the Los Angeles Times in January 1995 offered just two options of spending more or less on defense and found that a strong majority of 60% favored spending less, while 32% favored spending more.

Together, all these polling numbers suggest that there is a strong tendency to embrace the status quo on defense spending but that when encouraged to take a position one way or another, the majority opts for spending less.

An October 1994 NBC/ Wall Street Journal poll asked respondents how they would feel about a candidate who favored increased federal spending on defense. Only 40% said this would make them more likely to vote for the candidate while 52% said it would make them less likely.

However, when placed in the context of the Republican program associated with the new Congress and the "Contract With America," attitudes about proposed increases in defense spending were inconsistent. A November 1994 Gallup poll found that only 42% favored the Contract's proposal for increases, while 55% said they opposed them. In a March 1995 Time/CNN poll that alluded to the Contract's proposals for increasing defense spending, only 36% said they favored them, while 58% were opposed. But when the Tarrance Group asked in April 1995 about Republican proposals to increase defense spending, only 22% said they had "gone too far," while 36% said they "have been about right," and 22% said they had "not gone far enough."

When respondents were asked about their sense of urgency for acting on the Republican proposal to increase defense spending, there was also divergence. Gallup asked in November 1994 whether it would "matter to you" if Congress voted on increased defense spending in the first 100 days, and only 40% said that it would matter, while 58% said it would not. But when an ABC poll in January 1995 asked "what kind of priority" the issue of "increasing spending on national defense" should get in Congress, 56% said that it is "absolutely critical" (17%) or "important, but not critical" (39%). In November 1994, immediately after the midterm election, Time/CNN asked what kind of priority increasing defense spending should be for the new Congress. Thirty-one percent said it should be a "high priority," 50% said a "low priority," while 15% said it "should not be a priority at all." These questions did not ask whether or not the respondent actually favored or opposed increasing spending, so it is unclear whether all the respondents who said it should be a priority at all meant to say that they favored an increase, or if some simply saw some merit in considering the option.

Cutting to Balance the Budget

Apparently, a modest majority of Americans disagrees with the decision of Congress and the executive branch to exclude defense spending from cuts in the effort to balance the budget. In the PIPA poll, 54% said that "In order to reduce the federal budget deficit...the government should cut back defense spending," while 43% said the government "should not". Fifty-four percent also agreed with the argument that "to balance the budget, the defense budget is one of the first places we should look to cut," while 42% disagreed.

In numerous other polls conducted over the last year, the number favoring such defense cuts to help balance the budget invariably outweighed the number opposed. In a Time/CNN poll of May 1995, 54% said that in the effort to balance the budget "it is more important to make significant cuts" in defense spending, while 41% said that "it is more important to prevent that program from being significantly cut." In a similar question in a February 1995 Gallup poll, 52% favored cuts while 43% resisted them. In a June 1995 Louis Harris poll, 49% favored cutting spending on defense to cut the deficit while 48% were opposed. A poll conducted in November 1994 immediately after the midterm elections by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Kaiser Foundation found that 53% of those who had voted in the election favored decreasing defense spending in order to reduce the federal deficit, while 47% were opposed. A June 1995 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 67% favored some cuts in defense spending to balance the budget (11% "a great deal," 30% "a fair amount," 26% "just a little"), while 30% said defense spending should not be cut at all.

In the June 1995 ATIF poll, 64% said, in the effort to reduce the deficit, the military budget "should have spending curbs or cuts," with 35% opposed. (Only 28% favored such curbs or cuts in Social Security and 35% in Medicare). Those who favored curbs or cuts in military spending were then asked to assume that all the budget items other than social security, Medicare and interest on the debt were cut a total of 20% and were then asked how much military spending should be cut. The mean response was 28%. For the total sample, this came out to a mean response calling for an 18% cut in the military budget.

Naturally, the question arises, how would the average American respond if he or she was faced with the challenge of balancing the federal budget? The Americans Talk Issues Foundation in December 1991 carried out an interesting and complex poll in which respondents were informed about the amounts of all the major revenue and spending items in the federal budget and were asked to try to balance it. In this situation, the mean response called for defense spending to be cut 17%, or $47 billion (from a budget of $280 billion) which constituted 88% of the entire $53.4 billion in cuts proposed.

$7 Billion Addition

After the Pentagon submitted its defense budget to Congress, Congress added an additional 7 billion dollars in spending items that the Pentagon opposed. Respondents to the PIPA poll were asked how they felt about this additional spending. (At the time, the President had not yet agreed to the 7 billion add-on and was considering vetoing the bill). Seventy-seven percent said they opposed the additional spending, while 16% supported it. Also, as we will discuss below, only a small minority believed that the reason that Congress made this addition was derived from concerns that the original budget was not adequate for US security needs.

Deep Cuts

If the government were to make deep cuts in defense spending, it appears that a majority would likely support them. A quarter sample was asked to "imagine that the President and Congress decided to cut defense spending by 10%," while another quarter sample was asked about a 20% cut. For the 10% cut, 63% said they would support such a move while 30% said they would not support it. For the 20% cut, 56% said they would support this move, while 39% said they would not. The only other poll that has asked about deep cuts was a June 1992 poll conducted by Gordon S. Black. Respondents were asked to evaluate a number of ideas "as a policy position for a new political party." Fifty-six percent said they would favor the position to "reduce overall defense spending by 50% over the next five years."

If it is specified that the money saved would be redirected to popular objectives, support for such deep cuts becomes overwhelming. In the PIPA poll, another half sample was told not only to imagine that the President and Congress had cut defense spending by 10% or 20%, but also that the money would be redirected "to improving education, fighting crime and cutting the deficit." In this case, support for the 10% cut was 78% with just 19% opposed. The 20% cut was supported by 72% with 23% opposed.

A September 1991 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll also found strong support for defense cuts when it was framed in terms of redirecting those funds to a popular program. Eighty-four percent favored reducing US defense spending to "pay for programs to improve education." In the PIPA poll, the full sample was asked how such deep cuts would affect their feeling of security. For a 10% cut, 24% said they would feel "less secure," 69% said they would feel "about as secure as...now," and 5% said they would feel "more secure." Feelings of insecurity were only slightly higher for a 20% cut, with 31% saying they would feel less secure, 62% saying they would feel as secure as now, and with 5% saying they would feel more secure.



4.

Support for cuts in defense spending is sustained by: the belief that the US military is adequately prepared for existing threats; a lack of concern about Russia; suspicions that the defense establishment and Congress are promoting excessive defense spending; the belief that the current level of defense spending weakens the US economy; and opposition to the US carrying the burden of a 'world policeman' role.

Confidence in US Defense Capabilities

At the same time that Americans embrace the notion of a strong defense, they also reject various arguments in support of current or increased levels of defense spending. Overall, most respondents showed a fairly high degree of confidence in current US defense capabilities. The argument that "there are important military threats to the US for which the US military is not adequately prepared," was rejected by 73%. On the other hand, 62% agreed with the argument that because the US "has by far the most powerful military in the world and enough nuclear weapons to destroy the rest of the world several times over," it can "reduce its defense spending without jeopardizing its security."

This confidence in US defense capabilities was expressed in the focus groups. A Kalamazoo man said:

I think if we already have enough missiles to destroy the world many times over, it's not logical to me to spend a lot more money developing missiles.

Another Kalamazoo man said:

I would say that after watching the much publicized Desert Storm, . . . it became a joke really. I mean, the amount of technology and the sheer numbers that the US had halfway across the world. . . I don't see how you could feel insecure in your own country. I think as far as technology and the sheer numbers, I don't see any problem right now.

An argument that is quite popular in Congress is that US troops suffer from a lack of readiness. To test the currency of this argument, respondents were asked "Is it your impression that US troops are adequately trained and equipped to be ready for quick deployment to foreign countries or is it your impression that they are not ready?" An overwhelming 74% said that they believed US troops are ready, while just 22% said they believed that US troops are not ready.

Lack of Concern About Russia

Overall, it seems that most Americans are not highly worried about Russia as a threat to the US and feel that the defense establishment is still mired in habits derived from the Cold War. Respondents were presented a pair of arguments about Russia. A majority of 58% embraced the argument that:

Russia has sharply reduced its military and even had major problems winning a minor civil war in
Chechnya.  If they begin to rebuild their military capabilities then we would see it in time and respond
accordingly, but until then the US can reduce its defense spending.

while just 39% embraced the argument that:

In Russia there are nationalist politicians calling for a renewal of Russian military power.  If they ever
come to power, they could pose a threat to us.  Therefore it is important for the US not to reduce its
defense spending.  

Similarly, in the October 1994 poll by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, only 32% said they felt that "The military power of Russia is a critical threat." Forty-nine percent said that the threat from Russia is important but not critical, while 15% said it is not important.

Apparently, most Americans do not feel that the US defense establishment has fully adapted to the post-Cold War environment. Fifty-five percent of the PIPA respondents agreed with the argument:

During the Cold War, the US kept improving its weaponry because the Soviet  Union was doing the
same thing.  But even though the Soviet Union has since collapsed, our Cold War habits persist, and
we continue to design and build more than is really necessary now. 

Forty-one percent disagreed. This thinking was echoed by a Kalamazoo man who said:

The defense program was built up around the idea of the threat of war with the USSR, and since there is no longer a threat of that war, I think we can greatly decrease our defense spending.

Also, when respondents were asked how much, if any, the US can cut its spending below the average spent during the Cold War, the median response was 20%--significantly more than the US has cut.

Wariness of Defense Establishment and Congress

Most Americans suspect that the defense establishment and Congress, in various ways, are promoting excessive defense spending. Seventy-six percent agreed with the argument that the defense budget is inflated by "Congressional representatives promoting defense-related jobs in their districts, the military branches duplicating functions, and defense contractors influencing members of Congress through campaign contributions."

Respondents were asked why they thought Congress recently added $7 billion to the defense budget beyond the Pentagon's request. Only 17% said it was "because of concerns that the budget proposed by the Pentagon was not adequate to meet US security needs." Fifty-five percent said it was "because of a desire to keep defense-related jobs in their districts." (As we shall see below, though, a substantial minority supports maintaining defense spending to preserve jobs). Others volunteered the explanation that the add-on was derived from Congressional representatives' desire to satisfy business interests that would then contribute to their election campaigns. This kind of thinking appeared in the focus groups, as in the following exchange in the Atlanta focus group in response to the question of why Congress added the $7 billion:

Man 1: I think they want to get additional money for business interests. To get re-elected.

Man 2: They're kowtowing to business.

Man 1: If you're a congressman from a state that has a lot of military bases, of course you're going to vote to spend more money on military. Or if you're a Georgia Congressman and Lockheed is here...

Man 2: You're going to get contributions to your campaign fund.

Many Americans also feel some mistrust of the claims made by the Pentagon. Fifty-nine percent said the Pentagon is more apt to "overstate threats to the US," as compared to the 32% who said it is more apt to "understate" them. "When Pentagon officials say they need a new type of weapon" 58% said they believe these officials "may be exaggerating the need for the new weapon," as opposed to 36% who said they believe these officials "have probably based their conclusion on an objective assessment of the threat."

The Pentagon is widely seen as being overzealous in building up US defense capabilities. Sixty-nine percent agreed with the argument that in the effort to "make doubly and triply sure that the US will have the best means to respond to highly unlikely situations...we have reached the point where enough is enough." Sixty-nine percent agreed that the Pentagon, in trying to improve US defense technology "often goes overboard, building expensive capabilities that are not really necessary." A man in the Atlanta focus group expressed this sentiment when he said:

There's a lot of things that we don't need out there that the government is saying build this, build this, build this ... and I agree we need the bombs and stuff like that.. you've got to have a strong defense to make sure that nobody messes with you, but the other thing that I see is that they go in there and they mess with these projects that are showing signs of being completely screwed up and they keep pumping money into and all they're doing is wasting the money.

Overall, though, it appears that Americans have complex and mixed feelings about the defense establishment. In the focus groups, it was apparent that many participants felt uneasy about whether they were qualified to challenge the defense establishment on the arcane question of what is necessary for national defense. In the poll, 47% agreed and 47% disagreed with the statement:

I am willing to accept the defense budget that is passed by the US government because I believe it has
taken the best judgment of the military into account. 

At the same time, this deference to the military can be mixed with a feeling of resentment that this deference is sometimes exploited. Seventy-four percent agreed (24% disagreed) with the statement:

I feel that defense companies and the military sometimes take advantage of the public's fears in order
to get the public to accept building weapons that are not really necessary.  

Defense Spending Weakens Economy, Despite Jobs

In the PIPA poll, 63% agreed with the argument:

For decades, the US has been spending a much larger portion of its economy or GNP on defense than
its allies, especially the Japanese and Europeans.  This has weakened the US economy and given some
allies an economic edge.  It is time for the US to cut back its defense spending and make its economy
more competitive. 

Just 33% disagreed. Evidently, this attitude has been in place for some time. In a February 1990 poll by the Analysis Group, 78% found the following argument somewhat (37%) or very (41%) convincing:

The real international challenges we face in the 1990's involve our economic strength, more than our
military strength, and we need to be investing more in our economy now instead of defense.  

This feeling is also not neutralized by the widely-stated concern for preserving jobs. Only 43% agreed with the argument that:

The US government should not cut defense spending because many people will lose their jobs when
bases are closed and factories are shut down.   

Furthermore, when for another half sample this argument was presented in a pair of arguments, support for it dropped to 28% while 67% agreed with the counterargument that:

It does not make sense to keep spending money on defense so as to keep jobs.  It is better for the American economy, an
ultimately is cheaper, to retrain those workers to produce something for the civilian economy.  

A Philadelphia man expressed similar sentiments:

I'm not for the Congressman pushing for unnecessary jobs. I mean, we would like for him to create jobs that would be productive for the country. We don't want wasteful jobs and paying taxes just to pay individual salaries. I would hope that the Congressman would seek productive jobs, not just place-holders.

Rejection of 'World Policeman' Role

Seventy-one percent of respondents agreed that "the US is playing the role of world policeman more than it should be." When asked, "Do you feel that countries that receive protection from US military capabilities are doing enough to protect themselves, or do you feel that they rely too much on the US?", an overwhelming 89% said that these countries "rely too much on the US." In a June 1995 ATIF poll, when asked who should be "the policeman of the world," only 19% said the United States, while 76% said the United Nations.

This concern about the US playing the role of world policeman also came up in the PIPA focus groups. An Atlanta man said:

[W]e're acting like we are the world's police, and why? No one asked us to. I mean, we're spending money, going in and invading territories that, really, we have no business going into.

These attitudes have strong implications for defense spending. In the PIPA poll, respondents who said that the US is playing the role of world policeman more than it should be were asked how much the US could reduce its defense spending "if the US were to cut back its role as world policeman." The median answer was 25%. The June 1995 ATIF poll posed a similar question: "If we could get countries who benefit from our military capability to pick up a fair share of our military costs, what percent do you guess we might be able to cut safely from our military budget?" The mean response was 27%.

The June 1995 ATIF poll also found that an overwhelming majority wants other countries to pick up much of the tab in the event that the US actually intervenes. "If the US intervenes anywhere in the world for the benefit of other nations as well as ourselves," 90% said that "we should require other nations to pay a share of the costs depending on their ability to pay and how much the intervention is in their interests." Only 8% said that the US should not ask countries to pay "because it might compromise our moral leadership and make us seem too mercenary."

It does appear, though, that the feeling that US allies are not carrying their share, while still a majority position, has softened a bit. A March 1990 ATIF poll found that 84% agreed that Western Europe can afford to pay more for its own defense. In the current PIPA poll, respondents were asked, "is it your impression that the amount that the US contributes to NATO as compared to the European countries is less than its fair share, more than its fair share, or about right?", 53% said "more than its fair share" while 30% said "about right." In another PIPA question, respondents were asked how they felt about how much the US spends on defense as compared to its allies. Seventy-four percent said they thought the US spends more of its GNP on defense as compared to its allies, and 60% of those (44% of the total sample) said that bothered them. This softening of dissatisfaction with allies may be due to the decline in US military presence in Europe and the visibility of British and French troops in Bosnia.



5.

To reduce US defense spending, while still maintaining US security commitments and its global interests, very strong majorities want to put more emphasis on multilateral approaches to security. Strong majorities would like to strengthen the UN's collective security role and feel that doing so will diminish demands on the US. They are also generally willing to contribute US troops to UN-sponsored collective security efforts.

On the surface, it may seem that there is a contradiction between the public's desires on one hand to have the US stop playing world policeman and to cut its defense spending, and on the other hand to continue to protect its global interests and to maintain its commitments to protect other countries. However, most Americans feel that both of these objectives can be pursued simultaneously by putting much greater emphasis on collective efforts for maintaining world order and security.

Protecting Shared Interests Multilaterally

Respondents were presented a long question in which it was explained that the US has a world-wide military presence that benefits allies as well as protects US interests. Respondents were introduced to the debate about whether the allies should take over more of the responsibilities for protecting these interests: on one hand, this would reduce the burden on the US, while on the other hand, "we cannot be fully confident that allies will effectively protect shared interests." An overwhelming 79% favored the allies "taking over some of these responsibilities so that the US can reduce its presence abroad," with only 19% opposed.

These sentiments came up spontaneously in the focus groups. A Kalamazoo woman said, "I think that's where. . . we always go wrong with this idea of 'alone'. . .I mean, why do we have to be the one who is going to go in and throw all the money into these countries?"

To test this attitude with a concrete case, poll respondents were asked to consider the possibility of having the Persian Gulf policed by "a multinational naval patrol with ships from different countries as well as the US." The complexities of this idea were also introduced with the comment, "Most likely, this would reduce the burden on the US, but also would mean having shared command with other countries."

Nevertheless, 72% said they would favor such a multinational naval patrol over the US doing the patrolling on its own.

Maintaining Commitments Multilaterally

Respondents were introduced to the question of whether the US should maintain its commitments to protect other countries. They were also presented with the arguments, "Some people feel that these commitments not only help these other countries but also are a way to protect US interests abroad. Others feel that it is too costly for the US to sustain these commitments and that they should be canceled." They were then presented four different options for dealing with such commitments. Only 7% wanted to "withdraw" US commitments, while only 5% wanted to maintain its commitments by acting "primarily on its own."

An overwhelming majority of 87% favored maintaining commitments, but doing so in a more multilateral fashion. The largest number, 49%, favored the US maintaining its commitments but "whenever possible," acting "together with allies or through the UN." An additional 38% wanted to see the US "change its commitments to protect countries so that it is only committed to protecting them together with allies or through the UN." A separate sample was posed a similar question, but was asked instead what capabilities US defense spending should support and were presented three options. Here again, the option of abandoning US commitments was not at all popular: just 10% wanted the US to "only spend enough to protect itself but not to protect other countries." And again, the unilateral option was also unpopular: only 17% wanted the US to "spend enough so that it can protect itself and other countries on its own." A strong majority of 71% wanted the US to "only spend enough to protect itself and to join in efforts to protect countries together with allies or through the UN."

This emphasis on a multilateral orientation to maintaining commitments is consistent with the reluctance to invest in the ability to fight two regional wars without the help of allies. It is also consistent with the position held by a modest majority (52%) that, "Sizing our forces to the assumption that we will have to act on our own costs too much and puts too great a burden on the US. We should only make our forces big enough to do our share."

Protecting Saudi Arabia and North Korea

Presented with a concrete situation, it is also uncertain whether Americans would want to take military action unilaterally. Respondents were presented scenarios in which Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia and North Korea attacked South Korea. When one half-sample was asked about "contributing military forces together with other countries to a UN-sponsored effort to reverse the aggression," 76% favored it for Saudi Arabia and 68% favored it for South Korea. But when they were asked, "If other countries in the UN declined to participate would you favor or oppose the US taking action by itself?" only 33% favored taking action in Saudi Arabia and 21% in South Korea.

The other half sample was first asked whether they would favor or oppose "the US intervening with military force to stop this aggression by itself, if necessary" in the event of an attack on Saudi Arabia or South Korea. Sixty percent favored intervention for Saudi Arabia, while just 33% favored intervention in South Korea. When those who opposed the intervention were then asked, "What if other countries agreed to participate in a UN-sponsored effort to stop this aggression?", support for the intervention rose considerably. In the case of Saudi Arabia, 77% said they would then favor intervention, thus raising the total in favor to 90%. In the case of South Korea, 70% said they would then favor it, raising the total in favor to 80%. With this half sample, strong emphasis was put on the multilateral nature of the intervention in the follow-on question and support was higher (15% more for Saudi Arabia and 12% more for South Korea) than with the other half sample for whom the multinational nature of the intervention was just mentioned in the introductory question.

Although 60% said that they would support the US defending Saudi Arabia "by itself, if necessary" it is not clear that this attitude would be sustained in the face of a situation where other nations actually declined to participate. When the other half sample that first supported participation in a multilateral operation to defend Saudi Arabia were asked how they would feel if other nations declined to participate, support dropped to 33%.

Participation by Japan, Germany and Russia

For multilateral efforts to effectively reduce the demands on the US, these efforts would likely need to draw on three of the world's most advanced countries--Japan, Germany and Russia. For fear of their military potential, as well as constitutional limitations for Japan and Germany, including these countries in military operations has been controversial. However, the American public seems ready to accept these three countries as military partners. When asked about including these countries in a multinational naval patrol to police the Persian Gulf, 68% favored including Japan, 76% favored including Germany, and 64% favored including Russia.

Most respondents also opposed the oft-suggested idea of having Germany and Japan contribute money but not troops to multilateral operations. In the event that a UN-sponsored military force is formed to deal with a threat to the supply of oil in the Persian Gulf, only 23% favored having Germany simply contribute money, while 70% favored it contributing troops. For Japan, 37% favored it simply contributing money while 60% favored it contributing troops. Those who favored having Germany and Japan simply contribute money were asked, "What if this would mean that the US would then need to contribute more troops?" Under this condition, an additional 14% (raising the total to 84%) said they would favor having Germany contribute troops, and an additional 23% (raising the total to 83%) would favor Japan contributing troops.

Although the public might support the multinational involvement of Japan and Germany, Americans are less enthusiastic about having these countries play a more prominent military role on their own. An October 1994 Chicago Council on Foreign Relations poll question asked whether Japan and Germany should be encouraged or discouraged to play an increased military role in the world. A plurality of 47% said Japan should be discouraged, while 39% said it should be encouraged. For Germany, respondents were divided with 43% saying it should be encouraged and 42% saying it should be discouraged. In a March 1995 AP poll, 60% said they would not like to see Japan "take on a larger military defense role in Asia."

While this reluctance may suggest some wariness of Japan and Germany, it does not appear that the majority views them as a real threat to the US. In a March 1995 Associated Press poll, only 22% said that because of WWII they felt "suspicious Japan might become a military threat to the United States again," whereas 72% thought that was "in the past." Nonetheless, in the focus groups some respondents described some residual unease, such as the Atlanta woman who said:

(Germany and Japan) have got a history behind them, and I guess I've been indoctrinated by my dad who was in WWII. You know, we fought the Japanese in the war, and a lot of the old timers can't get over that, and I guess I grew up...with that."

Strengthening the UN's Collective Security Role

Seventy-three percent of the PIPA respondents agreed with the argument:

For the US to move away from its role as world policeman and reduce the burden of its large defense
budget, the US should invest in efforts to strengthen the UN's ability to deal with potential conflicts in
the world.  

Twenty-four percent disagreed. Similarly, in an April 1995 PIPA poll, an overwhelming 89% agreed that:

When there is a problem in the world that requires the use of military force, it is generally best for the
US to address the problem together with other nations working through the UN rather than going it
alone.    

In the June 1995 ATIF poll, 69% said the UN should take the lead "when faced with future problems of aggression," as opposed to 28% who thought the US should be the leader. Even when faced with a strong counterargument in the April 1995 PIPA poll, just 29% agreed, while 66% disagreed that:

When there is a problem in the world that requires the use of military force, it is better for the US to
act on its own, rather than working through the UN, because the US can move more quickly and
probably more successfully.   

In the current poll, when PIPA respondents were asked if they thought that in the long run, efforts to strengthen the UN would be a good investment or not a good investment, 68% said it would be a good investment. Just 37% worried that "if the UN were to become stronger, the US could become entangled in a system that would inhibit it from full freedom of action to pursue its interests." The October 1994 Chicago Council on Foreign Relations poll found that 84% felt that strengthening the UN should be a very important (51%) or somewhat important (33%) foreign policy goal. One man in a Philadelphia focus group went so far as to say that the UN should be strengthened enough to be able to constrain the US and hold it to its commitments, if necessary. He said:

I think (the UN) should be the governing factor in (matters concerning international commitments). . . I also think they should have the power to hold -- when a commitment is made, I don't think allies should be able to just walk away. . . (T)he UN isn't as strong as it was intended to be. That's kind of scary."

When PIPA respondents were posed with a series of specific options for strengthening the UN, every option received very strong support. Joint training exercises of UN member countries was supported by 82%. Improving UN com-munication and command facilities received 83% support. "Having UN members each commit 1,000 troops to a rapid deployment force that the UN Security Council can call up on short notice when a crisis occurs" received 79% support. Sixty-nine percent favored "allowing the UN to possess permanent stocks of military equipment stored in different locations around the world."

The April 1995 PIPA poll also found strong support for UN peacekeeping. Eighty-six percent agreed that:

The only way for the US to not always be the 'world policeman' is to allow the UN to perform some
policing functions.  UN peacekeeping is a way we can share the burden with other countries. 

Sixty-five percent favored contributing US troops to UN peacekeeping operations and the same number favored paying UN peacekeeping dues in full.

That same poll also found strong support for UN peacekeeping activities playing a prominent role in the US defense budget. The median respondent felt that it would be appropriate for 15% of the defense budget to be devoted to UN peacekeeping. Only 32% agreed, while 64% disagreed with the argument that, "Since the defense budget is being cut back, we should not use these diminishing resources for activities like UN peacekeeping because peacekeeping is a low priority for American security." In a February 1994 PIPA poll, 66% found convincing the argument that:

UN peacekeeping helps contribute to stability in the world.  This makes it less likely the US will need
to do expensive things like sending military aid and US troops to other countries.  In the long run, if
we don't spend money on UN peacekeeping we will probably end up spending more money on defense.

In the same February 1994 poll, 62% said they "would be willing to cut spending in some other area of the defense budget so as to increase spending on UN peacekeeping."

A strong majority in the current PIPA poll also supported the classical principle of collective security through the UN. Sixty-nine percent favored contributing US troops to UN efforts to reverse aggression even after hearing the argument that "American troops may be put at risk in operations that are not directly related to US interests," as well as the argument that such efforts are valuable "because then potential aggressors will know that aggression will not succeed." Twenty-three percent disagreed.



CONCLUSION

So, what are the implications of these findings for defense spending in the context of the current budget debate? The current Congressional effort to increase defense spending is opposed by a very strong majority of Americans. On the contrary, a modest majority favors a significant cut in defense spending and feels that the defense budget should be on the table in the effort to balance the budget.

Any effort to cut defense spending will, however, face significant scrutiny. There is a broad consensus that the US should maintain a strong and global defense capability to protect its global interests and to maintain commitments to protect other countries. Most Americans also show a conservative tendency to err on the side of having too much rather than too little defense.

But to the extent that Americans do gain a greater understanding of US defense spending, they are likely to become more rather than less comfortable with cuts. The level of defense spending most respondents proposed relative to potential enemies was far lower than actual spending levels. Most did not feel that it is necessary for the US to have the capability to simultaneously fight two regional wars without the help of allies--the core rationale for current defense spending levels.

There are other underlying attitudes contributing to support for cuts. Strong majorities are suspicious of the claims of the defense establishment and on the whole, feel that it leads the US to spend more on defense than is really necessary. Americans feel overburdened by the demands of the defense budget, and believe that the US has been carrying a disproportionate share of the responsibility for maintaining world order. They also feel that the present level of defense spending is damaging to the economy.

Americans do not see a simple trade-off between security and budgetary savings. They believe that substantial savings can be found through shifting some of the onus of maintaining world order away from the US and putting more emphasis on multilateral approaches to world security. They are ready to sacrifice some loss of control to this end.

At this point, the public is clearly not insisting on such changes. In the focus groups, there were no table-pounding demands for cuts. But poll respondents showed a great receptivity to even deep cuts if the President and Congress decide to make them. As the stresses of the trade-offs entailed in the effort to balance the budget take a greater toll, it is quite possible that some political leaders might be able to align this frustration with underlying doubts about the necessity of the current level of defense spending. To create a consensus, though, Americans must be convinced that while cutting defense spending the US can also, perhaps by encouraging more multilateral approaches, maintain its global interests and commitments.



APPENDIX A
DEMOGRAPHIC VARIATIONS

Overall, the most noteworthy demographic finding of this study was the rarity of significant demographic differences in responses. This homogeneity of response was particularly strong on the broader questions of security policy such as the need for a strong defense, the need to maintain commitments, the feeling that the US is carrying more than its fair share, and the desire to put more emphasis on multilateral approaches. The area where demographic variations did sometimes appear were most often in response to more concrete questions about the defense budget's size, effect on the economy, and its role in domestic politics. Variations along party lines were the most distinct.

AGE

Respondents in the 18-to-29 age group showed, on certain questions, a greater reluctance to accept some of the traditional 'givens' of the defense budget than older groups. Only 37% of the 18-to-29 group said they were "willing to accept the defense budget that is passed by the US government because I believe it has taken the best judgment of the military into account," while 60% of those over 65 agreed with this statement. When the 74% who believed that the US spends a greater percentage of GNP on defense than its allies were asked, "Does this bother you?", among the youngest group, three-quarters (74%) said it did bother them while all other age groups were in the 53-59% range. Sixty-nine percent of the youngest group thought that the Russian threat was so reduced that the US could lower its defense spending, while 53% of those over 65 thought so.

Sixty-three percent of those over 65 agreed that "to move away from its role as world policeman...the US should invest in efforts to strengthen the UN." All other age groups' agreement was in the 73%-76% range. However, on a question about unilateral action by the US, only 48% of those over 65 thought the US should act "by itself, if necessary" to stop aggression by Iraq, while 60-65% of all other age groups thought the US should do so.

The middle-aged seem to find special appeal in the argument that "To protect against threats we cannot foresee now, we need to keep designing and building more technologically advanced weapons." Sixty-one percent of those 30 to 65 agreed, while only 49% of those 18 to 29--and 48% of those over 65--agreed.

PARTY AFFILIATION

Overall, a clear majority of Democrats and independents favored cuts in defense spending to help balance the budget, while a majority of Republicans were opposed. Some arguments against maintaining defense spending at current levels found majority agreement among Democrats and independents, while Republicans were divided.

Respondents split clearly on party lines when presented with the argument that "With the need to cut back spending to balance the budget, the defense budget is one of the first places we should look to cut." While 69% of Democrats agreed, only 40% of Republicans did, while independents were at 58%. When asked directly in another question whether or not defense spending should be cut back to reduce the deficit, 63% of Democrats and 55% of independents were in favor; only 44% of Republicans were in favor, with 52% opposed.

There was sharp disagreement along party lines over the argument that defense spending is driven by "Cold War habits." Sixty-six percent of Democrats agreed, while only 39% of Republicans did, with independents at 59%. The argument that the US should keep designing more technologically advanced weapons "to protect against threats we cannot foresee" did better among Republicans (68%) than among Democrats (50%) or independents (51%). When asked whether Russia was enough of a threat to justify maintaining current levels of defense spending, Republicans were divided (47% agreed) while a minority of Democrats agreed (31%; independents 36%).

Other arguments in favor of reducing defense spending divided Republicans down the middle, while a majority of Democrats and independents favored them. Fifty percent of Republicans agreed that "it is time for the US to cut back its defense spending and make its economy more competitive," while 75% of Democrats and 64% of independents agreed. Forty-nine percent of Republicans agreed that defense spending could be cut because the US "has by far the most powerful military in the world" while 74% of Democrats and 66% of independents agreed.

Republicans were also less ready to rely on allies. Respondents were asked whether the US should size its forces on the assumption that allies and other UN members will do their share when a threat to world security arises. Sixty-one percent of Democrats thought the US should do this, while only 44% of Republicans thought so (independents 54%).

GENDER

On some questions, women appeared more critical than men of current defense spending levels. Sixty percent of women agreed that defense spending was driven by "Cold War habits," while only 48% of men agreed. When presented with the argument that the defense budget should be cut to help deal with the budget deficit, 63% of women, but only 45% of men agreed. However, on another question that asked directly whether the government should or should not cut back defense spending "in order to reduce the federal budget deficit," there was no significant difference between women and men.

Men were considerably more willing than women to favor the US taking military action by itself, if necessary, in a crisis in the Persian Gulf or in Korea. Seventy-two percent of men, but only 49% of women, favored such action if Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia; 43% of men and 25% of women favored such action if North Korea invaded South Korea.

Men were more apt than women to say that the US needs to have the capability to win two regional wars without the help of allies. When asked to choose between having the capability to win one or two regional wars, 45% of the men preferred the two-war requirement as compared to 34% for women. In a different half-sample, when respondents were first asked whether the US should have the capability of fighting one regional war without allies and then asked about two wars, 42% of men and 31% of women said the US should have a two- war capability.

INCOME

There were few significant variations by household income level. The most explicit economic argument for maintaining defense spending did show variation, however: while 63% of those with incomes below $15,000 agreed with maintaining defense spending to save jobs, among those between $15,000 and $25,000 only 49% agreed, while among those over $100,000 just 29% agreed. While 59% of those with incomes below $45,000 agreed that defense spending was driven by "Cold War habits," only 46% of those above $45,000 shared their view.

Some variation also appeared on broader security questions. While 58% of those with incomes below $15,000 were willing to size forces on the assumption that allies and other UN members will do their share when a threat arises, only 44% of those with incomes above $100,000 were willing to do so (intermediate groups fell in between).

Higher income groups also showed the lowest level of support for changing US commitments to protect other countries only through multilateral organizations, though they showed the highest support for using multilateral organizations whenever possible. Also, when asked whether the United States was acting as world policeman more than it should be, 71% of the sample as a whole said that it was, but 50% of those above $100,000 said it was not.

EDUCATION

Perhaps the most striking demographic finding on education levels was the shallowness of support among the less educated for maintaining defense spending in order to preserve jobs. When respondents heard the argument that the defense budget should not be cut because jobs will be lost, 78% of those with some high school education agreed as compared to just 29% of those with advanced degrees. However, when presented with a pair of opposing arguments, even among those without a high school degree, the majority chose the counter-argument that retraining of defense workers would be the better alternative: 60% of those with some high school agreed, while 72% of those with advanced degrees agreed.

Concern for jobs may have also influenced responses to the argument that currently unnecessary weapons should still be built to maintain the production lines. Sixty-nine percent of those of those with some high school agreed with this argument while just 29% of those with advanced degrees agreed.

The better educated were more supportive of Japanese, German and Russian participation in a multinational naval patrol for the Persian Gulf. While 50% of those with some high school favored Japanese or Russian participation (Germany, 59%), support from those with advanced degrees was 25-30 points higher (Japan, 79%; Germany, 89%; Russia, 74%).

The more educated were also more willing to have the US act on its own if necessary to reverse an Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia. Seventy-seven percent of those with graduate degrees supported such an action while just 43% of those who had not graduated from high school did so.

RACE

African-Americans are slightly more critical of defense spending than whites. Seventeen percent of whites said defense spending is a lot more than it needs to be, but 35% of African-Americans said so. Sixty-one percent of whites agreed that "it is time for the US to cut back its defense spending and make its economy more competitive," while 80% of African-Americans agreed. While 67% of whites agreed that the Pentagon often goes overboard in improving its weaponry, 85% of African-Americans agreed with this.

African-Americans were more wary of the idea of multinational naval patrol than were whites. While 74% of whites favored the idea, 54% of African-Americans did. African- Americans were also considerably more wary of the idea of including Germany and Russia in it. Only 49% of African-Americans favored German participation in such a patrol, while 78% of whites were in favor. And only 39% of African-Americans wanted to see Russian participation, while 66% of whites did.

The sample size did not permit analysis of the responses of other ethnic groups.

OTHER DEMOGRAPHIC CATEGORIES

In order to explore other factors that may help to explain public attitudes, this study also asked respondents further questions relevant to their interest in public affairs.

Respondents were asked which presidential candidate they had voted for in the 1992 election. On some questions, Clinton and Perot voters appeared more willing to see defense spending reduced than were Bush voters. Strong majorities of Clinton voters (77%) and Perot voters (61%) would support a 20% defense cut if the President and Congress decided on it, while just 48% of Bush voters would support it and 44% would not. This was so though 58% of Bush voters said they were "willing to accept the defense budget passed by the US government because I believe it has taken the best judgment of the military into account," while 43% of Clinton voters and only 38% of Perot voters felt the same way. Bush voters were also less willing to size US defenses on the assumption that allies would do their share.

Asked whether they listened to political talk radio, 11% said they listened "a lot," 35% "sometimes," 28% "hardly ever," and 25% "never." On a number of questions, those who listen "a lot" or "sometimes" appeared significantly more supportive of current defense spending levels. While 54% of the total sample said that in order to reduce the federal budget deficit, defense spending should be cut back, only 33% of those who listen to talk radio "a lot" thought so, while 66% were opposed to cutting. When the same idea was presented as an argument, 54% of the total sample agreed with it, while 45% of those who listen to talk radio "a lot" agreed. Fifty-seven percent of those who listen to talk radio "a lot" agreed that preserving production lines was a good reason to build weapons systems, while only 41% of those who never listen agreed. And while 53% of those who listen "a lot" thought that Russia was a threat that justified keeping defense spending at current levels, just 33% of those who "never listen" agreed.

Asked whether they would "say that you are a born-again Christian," 34% said yes, while 66% said this was not a term they would use. In some questions, born-again Christians appeared more positive about maintaining defense spending than others. When asked directly whether defense spending should be cut back to deal with the Federal deficit, only 42% of the "born again" group said that it should be (rest of sample: 60%). When the same idea was presented as an argument, however, the difference in response fell within the margin of error.

Born-again Christians seemed somewhat more responsive to arguments for defense spending based on economic themes. Fifty-two percent of this group agreed that defense spending should be maintained so that jobs would not be lost (rest of sample: 39%); 58% agreed that preserving production lines was a good reason to keep building weapons systems (rest of sample: 44%). Born-again Christians were somewhat more apt to favor the two-war requirement: in one question 47% versus 35% of the rest of the sample favored the two war requirement, though in another version of the question, this difference was just 42% to 34%.

Asked whether they had written or telephoned a member of Congress within the last year, 30% of respondents said that they had. This more involved group showed no meaningful variation from the attitudes of those who had not contacted Congress.



APPENDIX B
HOW THE STUDY WAS CONDUCTED

To prepare this study, PIPA conducted a nationwide poll, focus groups, interviews, and a review of previous polls on defense spending conducted by other organizations.

THE POLL

The poll was conducted on November 18-25, 1995, with a sample of 1,207 American adults. Respondents were interviewed by telephone by Communications Center, Inc. (CCI) in Washington, DC, on a CATI system using a survey designed by PIPA. Each interview lasted an average of twenty-one minutes. Respondents were chosen from all households in the continental United States by a random digit dialing sample generated by Scientific Samples. Interviewers observed gender quotas.

Questions that were asked of the entire sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 3%. Most questions were asked of half the sample and have a margin of error of 4%. The poll also included questions that were only asked when respondents answered a particular way to a previous question; consequently, the number of respondents varied on these questions.

The order and placement of some questions were varied to reduce any biases that might derive from question order or from respondents falling into patterns of responses.

FOCUS GROUPS

PIPA used focus groups to help craft questions for the poll so that they reflected how people talk and think about defense spending. Focus groups provide citizens with the opportunity to think about various issues and topics over the course of a discussion, to talk about their views and feelings in their own words, and to describe the underlying assumptions behind their views.

PIPA conducted three focus groups: in Philadelphia on October 5, 1995, in Atlanta on October 10, and in Kalamazoo, Michigan on October 19. Each discussion lasted about two hours and a total of twenty-nine citizens participated.

Citizens for the Philadelphia focus group were recruited by PIPA from a sample of random households in the Philadelphia area provided by Metromail in Lincoln, Nebraska. Citizens for the Atlanta focus group were recruited by Plaza Research of Atlanta, Georgia. Citizens for the Kalamazoo focus group were recruited by Harrington Market Research of Battle Creek, Michigan. A strong effort was made to recruit a mix of citizens to ensure that a range of perspectives and views were heard. The demographic makeup of each group was designed to roughly mirror society in general. Thus, there was a mix of men and women; white, black or other minorities; income levels; ages; education levels; and employment status.

REVIEW OF OTHER POLLS

A comprehensive review of publicly released polls on defense spending and defense-related issues was conducted, going back to 1988. The primary source was the Public Opinion Location Library (POLL) database of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut.



APPENDIX C
QUESTIONNAIRE AND RESULTS

    I am calling for the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. 
 We are interested in your opinion about current events.  It is not necessary to have any special knowledge 
about these subjects.  I would just like to know your thoughts, whatever they are.  Some of the questions 
I will ask you will be about defense spending, which means spending on the US military.  Here is the first 
question. 

Q1. What is your feeling about how things are going with the economy in the US? Overall, would you say the economy is:

Getting better 18.0 Getting worse 37.1 Staying about the same 43.9 Don't know 1.0 (Randomize foils in parentheses) Q2. On the whole, is it your sense that US defense spending is (more than it needs to be, less than it needs to be, or about right)? [If more or less] Would that be somewhat or a lot (more/less) than it needs to be? A lot more than it needs to be 19.0 Somewhat more than it needs to be 23.1 Somewhat less than it needs to be 13.8 A lot less than it needs to be 9.3 About right 30.5 Don't know 4.3 Q3. (For those who say about right in Q2) Which way would you say you lean? Lean toward more 10.5 Lean toward less 8.5 It's about right 10.4 Don't know 1.1 Totals for Q2 and Q3: More than it needs to be 52.6 Less than it needs to be 31.6 About Right 10.4 Don't know 5.4 (For those who say "more than it needs to be" in Q2 or Q3) Q4. By what percentage do you think the defense budget can safely be reduced? Median 20% (For those who say "less than it needs to be" in Q2 or Q3) Q5. By what percentage do you think the defense budget should be increased? Median 15% (Q2 through Q5 combined) Median for total sample - negative 10% (Half sample goes through Q6-8 series here, the other half goes through it after Q22) (Half sample that does not hear Q19) Q6. In order to reduce the federal budget deficit do you think the government should cut back spending on defense or not? Should cut back 54.0 Should not cut back 43.4 Don't know 2.6 (Random half sample) Q7. Is it your sense that there are important military threats to the US for which the US military is not adequately prepared, or do you think the US military is adequately prepared? The military is not adequately prepared 23.7 The military is adequately prepared 73.1 Don't know 3.2 Q8. (For those who say unprepared in Q7) What are those threats? (open-ended) Statement: I am now going to read you a series of arguments that have been made for and against keeping the current level of US defense spending. For each one, please tell me if you agree or disagree. (Start with randomly chosen pro or con then shift between randomly chosen pros and cons.) PROS Q9. Even though the Cold War is over there are still countries in the world such as Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea, some of which may have weapons of mass destruction and could threaten US interests. Clearly, the US needs to maintain a strong defense. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 89.7 Disagree 8.8 Don't know 1.5 Q10. Because the US has global interests, it is important for the US to maintain a large military with the capacity to project its forces around the world. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 72.4 Disagree 26.1 Don't know 1.6 (Do not present to those who hear Q48) Q11. The US government should not cut defense spending because many people will lose their jobs when bases are closed and factories are shut down. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 43.2 Disagree 54.0 Don't know 2.9 Q12. If defense contractors stop building certain weapons, it would be hard to get those industries geared up again in the future. Therefore, even if some of the weapons may not be strategically necessary right now, they should still continue to produce them. Things might change so that we would need them later. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 48.7 Disagree 48.7 Don't know 2.6 (Do not present to those who hear Q47) Q13. Today there are numerous terrorist organizations that are hostile toward the US. To keep up its guard against these threats, the US at least needs to maintain defense spending at current levels. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 65.0 Disagree 32.6 Don't know 2.4 Q14. It is better to err in the direction of having too much rather than too little defense because the consequences of underestimating might lead to the loss of millions of Americans lives. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 71.5 Disagree 26.2 Don't know 2.3 Q15. The US should be willing to spend whatever is necessary to have the best technology to protect soldiers' lives during war time. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 87.3 Disagree 10.8 Don't know 1.9 CONS Q16. US defense technology is superior to that of any other country in the world today. When the Pentagon spends large sums of money trying to improve this technology even further, it often goes overboard, building expensive capabilities that are not really necessary. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 68.7 Disagree 26.9 Don't know 4.4 Q17. Most of the new weapons the US is building are meant to make doubly and triply sure that the US will have the best means to respond to highly unlikely situations. While it is nice to have these capabilities, we have reached the point where enough is enough. It is more important to redirect some of the funds being spent on new weaponry to problems at home. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 69.0 Disagree 26.9 Don't know 4.0 (Do not present to those asked Q56) Q18. For decades, the US has been spending a much larger portion of its economy or GNP on defense than its allies, especially the Japanese and Europeans. This has weakened the US economy and given these allies an economic edge. It is time for the US to cut back its defense spending and make its economy more competitive. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 63.0 Disagree 33.3 Don't know 3.8 (Do not present to those who hear Q6) Q19. With the need to cut back spending to balance the budget, the defense budget is one of the first places we should look to cut. Our defense needs are being met more than adequately, while many pressing domestic needs are not being adequately met. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 54.2 Disagree 42.3 Don't know 3.5 Q20. During the Cold War, the US kept improving its weaponry because the Soviet Union was doing the same thing. But even though the Soviet Union has since collapsed, our Cold War habits persist, and we continue to design and build more than is really necessary now. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 54.5 Disagree 40.9 Don't know 4.6 Q21. The United States has by far the most powerful military in the world and enough nuclear weapons to destroy the rest of the world several times over. As long as the US maintains this superiority, surely it can reduce its defense spending. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 62.1 Disagree 34.8 Don't know 3.1 Q22. There are several factors that inflate the defense budget including Congressional representatives promoting defense-related jobs in their districts, the military branches duplicating functions, and defense contractors influencing members of Congress through campaign contributions. Clearly there is room to cut the defense budget without affecting US security. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Agree 76.1 Disagree 18.5 Don't know 5.4 (Half sample that does not hear Q24) Q23. Recently, the Pentagon sent its annual budget request to Congress. Congress then added 7 billion dollars more than the Pentagon requested. Do you think the main reason Congressional representatives did this was: (randomly reverse order statements a and b) a) because of concerns that the budget proposed by the Pentagon was not adequate to meet US security needs b) because of a desire to keep defense-related jobs in their districts or c) because of some other reason? (open-ended) Statement A 17.2 Statement B 55.3 Statement C 41.0 Don't know 11.3 (Half sample that does not hear Q23) Q24. When the Pentagon sent its annual budget request to Congress, Congress then added 7 billion dollars more in spending on a number of items that representatives say are necessary. The Pentagon though says this spending is not necessary. Are you inclined to support or not support adding the 7 billion in spending? Support 15.7 Not Support 76.8 Don't Know 7.5 (Random half sample) Q25. Now I would like you to think about how much the US should spend on defense as compared to its potential enemies. For discussion's sake, let's include as potential enemies Russia, China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, and Libya. Here are some possible levels that have been suggested for US spending. Please tell me which one makes the most sense to you. 1. The US should spend a bit more than its most powerful potential enemy. 2. The US should spend about as much as all of its potential enemies combined. 3. The US should spend about twice as much as all its potential enemies combined. (Accept volunteered other answer and record) Statement 1 47.7 Statement 2 29.3 Statement 3 6.9 Other (open-ended) 9.9 Don't know 6.1 (Random half sample) Q26. Another controversy is whether the US should size its forces on the assumption that when there are threats to world security, our allies and other UN members will do their share. Please tell me which of the following statements come closest to your point of view: 1. We cannot assume allies or other UN members will be there to help. We should size our military forces on the assumption that we will have to act on our own. 2. Sizing our forces to the assumption that we will have to act on our own, costs too much and puts too great a burden on the US. We should only make our forces big enough to do our share. Statement 1 45.4 Statement 2 51.6 Don't know 3.0 (Reverse order in parentheses) Q27. If there were a major threat to the supply of oil in the Persian Gulf, and the US and other UN countries were contributing to a UN- sponsored military force to intervene there, would you want (Germany/Japan) to contribute troops, or would you prefer that it simply contribute money to the effort? (For those who say money only in Q27.) Q28. What if this would mean that the US would then need to contribute more troops, would you then favor having (Germany/Japan) contribute troops? Q29. What about (Germany/Japan)? Would you want it to contribute troops or would you prefer that it simply contribute money to the effort. (For those who say money only in Q29.) Q30. What if this would mean that the US would then need to contribute more troops, would you then favor having (Germany/Japan) contribute troops? Combined totals for Q27 and Q29: Germany Support troop contribution 69.9 Prefer money only 23.2 Don't know 6.8 Japan Support troop contribution 59.7 Prefer money only 37.4 Don't know 6.8 If US would then need to contribute more Combined totals for Q28 and Q30 % total asked Q 27 Germany Then favor contributing troops 59.7 13.8 Oppose contributing troops 37.4 8.6 Don't know 2.9 0.7 Japan Then favor contributing troops 62.7 23.0 Oppose contributing troops 35.4 13.0 Don't know 1.8 0.7 Total support, if US would then need to contribute more Germany Favor contributing 83.8 Oppose contributing 8.7 Don't know 7.5 Japan Favor contributing 80.1 Oppose contributing 13.0 Don't know 6.3 (Random half sample) Q31. Do you feel that countries that receive protection from US military capabilities are doing enough to protect themselves, or do you feel that they rely too much on the US? They're doing enough 7.6 They rely too much on US 89.0 Don't know 3.5 (Random half sample) Q32. Now that the Cold War is over, by what percentage, if any, do you think the US can reduce its defense spending below the average amount spent during the Cold War? Median 20% (Half Sample that heard pros and cons first) Q33. Is it your impression that US troops are adequately trained and equipped to be ready for quick deployment to foreign countries or is it your impression that they are not ready? They are ready 73.5 They are not ready 22.4 Don't know 4.0 (Half sample that did not hear Q15) Q34. Right now, the US has a world-wide military presence which protects its interests, such as oil in the Persian Gulf region. US allies who share these interests, like the Europeans and Japan, also benefit from this US military presence. Some people feel that these allies should contribute more military forces to protect these interests so that the US can reduce its burden. Others do not like this idea because, they say, we cannot be fully confident that allies will effectively protect shared interests. Do you favor or oppose the idea of allies taking over some of these responsibilities so that the US can reduce its presence abroad? Favor 78.5 Oppose 18.7 Don't know 2.8 (Random half sample) (Randomly choose a foil in parentheses) Q35. On the whole, would you say that the Pentagon is more apt to (overstate or understate) (understate or overstate) the military threats to the US? Overstate 58.7 Understate 31.8 Neither 4.3 Don't know 5.1 (Half sample hears Q36 here, half sample hears it after Q46) Q36. Right now, the size of US defense budget is based on the need for the US to have the capability to fulfill commitments it has made to protect a number of other countries if they are attacked. I will read three positions people have taken on US defense spending. Please tell me which one you agree with most. (Randomize order) 1. The US should only spend enough to protect itself but not to protect other countries. 2. The US should spend enough so that it can protect itself and other countries all on its own. 3. The US should only spend enough to protect itself and to join in efforts to protect countries together with allies or through the UN. Statement 1 10.4 Statement 2 17.4 Statement 3 70.9 Don't know 1.2 (Half sample that does not hear Q39 through Q40) (Quarter sample hears parentheses, quarter does not) Q37. Imagine that the President and Congress decided to cut defense spending by 10%.(and directed this money to improving education, fighting crime and cutting the deficit instead.) Would you support this move or not support this move? Without information about redirection Support 63.3 Not Support 29.9 Don't Know 6.8 With information about redirection Support 77.8 Not Support 19.2 Don't Know 3.0 Q38. If the US government cut defense spending by 10%, do you think that you would feel less secure, about as secure as you feel now, or more secure? Less Secure 23.8 About as Secure as now 69.2 More Secure 5.4 Don't Know 1.5 (Half sample that does not hear Q37 through Q38) (Quarter sample hears parentheses, quarter does not) Q39. Imagine that the President and Congress decided to cut defense spending by 20% (and directed this money to improving education, fighting crime and cutting the deficit instead). Would you support this move or not support this move? Without information about redirecting funds Support 55.6 Not Support 39.2 Don't Know 5.2 With information about redirecting funds Support 72.2 Not Support 22.8 Don't Know 5.0 Q40. If the US government cut defense spending by 20%, do you think that you would feel less secure, about as secure as you feel now, or more secure? Less Secure 31.0 About as Secure as now 61.9 More Secure 4.9 Don't Know 2.2 (half sample that does not hear Q35) Q41. When the Pentagon officials say they need a new type of weapon do you tend to: (reverse order) a. believe they have probably based their conclusion on an objective assessment of the threat or b. believe they may be exaggerating the need for the new weapon Statement A 35.8 Statement B 58.1 Don't know 6.1 (random half sample) Q42. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statement: The US is playing the role of world policeman more than it should be. Agree 71.0 Disagree 27.1 Don't know 1.8 (If agree in Q42) Q43. If the US were to cut back its role as world policeman to the level you think would be right, and other countries would take up the slack, by what percentage do you think the US could reduce its defense spending? Median 25% (Random half sample) Q44. The US has made commitments to defend many countries around the world in the event that they are attacked. Some people feel that these commitments not only help these other countries but also are a way to protect US interests abroad. Others feel that it is too costly for the US to sustain these commitments and that they should be canceled. There is also a controversy about whether the US should maintain these commitments independently or only do so together with allies or through the UN. I will read four positions on this subject. Please tell me which one you agree with most: 1. The US should withdraw its commitments to protect other countries and should just protect the US. 2. The US should maintain commitments to protect other countries and should do so primarily on its own. 3. The US should maintain its commitments to protect other countries. However, whenever possible, it should act together with allies or through the UN. or 4. The US should CHANGE its commitments to protect countries so that it is ONLY committed to protecting them together with allies or through the UN. Statement 1 7.2 Statement 2 5.3 Statement 3 48.9 Statement 4 37.6 Don't know 1.0 (Random half sample) Q45. I would like to know your general feeling about the US armed forces on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very negative and 10 being very positive. 1 .5 2 .2 3 1.2 4 1.7 5 7.8 6 9.7 7 16.3 8 33.0 9 11.0 10 17.5 Don't Know 1.2 Median score - 8 (Random half sample) Q46. The UN was established on the principle of collective security which says that when a UN member is attacked by another country, UN members should help defend the attacked nation. Some say the US should contribute its military forces to such UN efforts because then potential aggressors will know that aggression will not succeed. Others say the US should not contribute troops to such efforts because American troops may be put at risk in operations that are not directly related to US interests. Do you think the US should or should not contribute troops to UN efforts to help defend UN members if they are attacked? (okay to volunteer 'it depends') Should 68.8 Should not 23.4 It depends 6.7 Don't know 1.2 Statement: Here are some pairs of statements about US defense spending. Please tell me which one comes closest to your point of view. (Randomize presentation of Q47 through Q50) (Half sample that does not hear Q10) Q47. Which statement comes closest to your point of view?: a. Today there are numerous terrorist organizations that are hostile toward the US. To keep up its guard against these threats, the US at least needs to maintain defense spending at current levels. b. The US should do everything it can through the CIA, the FBI and military anti-terrorist units to try to meet the threat of terrorism. However, spending lots of money on defense for regular military forces does not address the problem because terrorists do not engage military forces directly. Statement A 30.9 Statement B 63.8 Don't know 5.4 (Half sample that does not hear Q8) Q48. Which statement comes closest to your point of view?: a. The US government should not cut defense spending because many people will lose their jobs when bases are closed and factories are shut down. b. It does not make sense to keep spending money on defense so as to keep jobs. It is better for the American economy, and ultimately is cheaper, to retrain those workers to produce something for the civilian economy. Statement A 28.1 Statement B 67.4 Don't know 4.6 (Random half sample) Q49. Which statement comes closest to your point of view?: a. To protect against threats we cannot foresee now we need to keep designing and build-ing more technologically advanced weapons. Otherwise, a sudden new threat might find us unprepared. b. If we do not need a new weapon now, we should not spend the money to design and build it. If a new threat emerges, we will see it in time and will be able to gear up fast enough to defeat it. Statement A 56.5 Statement B 40.1 Don't know 3.4 (Random half sample) Q50. Which statement comes closest to your point of view?: a. In Russia there are nationalist politicians calling for a renewal of Russian military power. If they ever come to power, they could pose a threat to us. Therefore, it is important for the US not to reduce its defense spending. b. Russia has sharply reduced its military and even had problems winning a minor civil war in Chechnya. If they begin to rebuild their military capabilities, then we will see it in time and respond accordingly, but until then, the US can reduce its defense spending. Statement A 38.5 Statement B 57.5 Don't know 4.0 (Half sample that does not hear Q52) Q51. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statement: I am willing to accept the defense budget that is passed by the US government because I believe it has taken the best judgment of the military into account. Agree 46.6 Disagree 46.9 Don't know 6.6 (Half sample that does not hear Q51) Q52. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statement: I feel that defense companies and the military sometimes take advantage of the public's fears in order to get the public to accept building weapons that are not really necessary. Agree 73.7 Disagree 23.9 Don't know 2.5 (Random quarter sample hears:) Q52. If Iraq were to invade Saudi Arabia would you favor or oppose the US contributing military forces together with other countries to a UN-sponsored effort to reverse the aggression? Favor 75.6 Oppose 21.3 Don't know 3.0 (If favor in Q52) Q53. If other countries in the UN declined to participate would you favor or oppose the US taking action by itself? % total asked Q52 Favor 44.0 33.2 Oppose 51.6 39.0 Don't know 4.4 3.3 (Random quarter sample that did not hear Q52) Q54. If North Korea were to attack South Korea would you favor or oppose the US contributing military forces together with other countries to a UN-sponsored effort to reverse the aggression? Favor 67.7 Oppose 28.5 Don't know 3.8 (If favor Q54) Q55. If other countries in the UN declined to participate would you favor or oppose the US taking action by itself? % total asked Q54 Favor 30.8 20.9 Oppose 64.1 71.9 Don't know 5.1 7.3 (Half sample that did not hear Q15) Q56. Thinking about how much the US and its allies each spend on defense as a percentage of their economy or GNP, on the whole, do you think the US, as compared to its allies, spends more, less or about the same? More 73.8 Less 5.9 About the same 15.8 Don't know 4.4 (Those that say "more" in Q56) Q57. Do you feel this is appropriate, or does this bother you? % total asked Q56 It's appropriate 38.2 28.2 It bothers me 60.1 44.4 Don't know 1.7 1.3 (half sample that did hear Q15) Q58. Thinking about the NATO alliance that was established to protect Western Europe, is it your impression that the amount that the US contributes to NATO as compared to the European countries is less than its fair share, more than its fair share or about right? Less than fair share 4.4 More than fair share 53.2 About right 30.0 Don't know 12.5 (Quarter sample hears Q59 through Q61 without hearing Q62 through Q65, quarter sample hears Q59 through Q61 after hearing Q62 through Q65) Q59. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statement: For the US to move away from its role as world policeman and reduce the burden of its large defense budget, the US should invest in efforts to strengthen the UN's ability to deal with potential conflicts in the world. Agree 73.2 Disagree 23.8 Don't know 2.9 Q60. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statement: Strengthening the UN is not a good idea because if the UN were to become stronger, the US could become entangled in a system that would inhibit it from full freedom of action to pursue its interests. Agree 37.2 Disagree 56.9 Don't know 6.0 Q61. Overall, do you think that in the long run, efforts to strengthen the UN would be a good investment or not a good investment? Good investment 67.5 Not a good investment 28.4 Don't know 4.1 (Random half sample) Statement: Thinking about specific steps that could be taken to strengthen the UN, here are some options that have been proposed. For each one, tell me if you would favor or oppose this step? Q62. Having joint training exercises of UN member countries so that their militaries will be better prepared to work together in combat situations. Favor 82.3 Oppose 15.6 Don't know 2.1 Q63. Improving UN communication and command facilities to enhance the coordination of UN operations. Favor 82.8 Oppose 13.2 Don't know 4.1 Q64. Having UN members each commit 1,000 troops to a rapid deployment force that the UN Security Council can call up on short notice when a crisis occurs. Favor 79.3 Oppose 17.2 Don't know 3.4 Q65. Allowing the UN to possess permanent stocks of military equipment stored in different locations around the world so that the UN can respond rapidly to crisis situations. Favor 69.3 Oppose 27.0 Don't know 3.7 (Half sample that heard Q26) Q66. Right now, the US supplies most of the ships to patrol the waters of the Persian Gulf. Some people say that it would be better for the Gulf to be patrolled by a multinational naval patrol including ships from other countries that import oil from the Gulf as well as ships from the US. Most likely this would reduce the burden on the US but would also mean having shared command so that at times the top commander might not be American. Which do you think would be better: to have this multinational naval patrol or to have the US continue to do most of the patrolling on its own.? Multinational naval patrol 71.7 United States naval patrol 25.5 Don't know 2.8 (Randomly rotate items in parentheses) Q67. If this multinational naval patrol were established would you like to see (Japan/Germany/Russia) be part of this force? What about (Japan/Germany/Russia)? What about (Japan/Germany/Russia)? Japan Yes 68.4 No 26.0 Don't know 5.6 Germany Yes 75.7 No 18.6 Don't know 5.8 Russia Yes 63.8 No 29.4 Don't know 6.7 (Quarter sample that does not hear Q52, Q54 and Q70) Q68. If Iraq were to invade Saudi Arabia would you favor or oppose the US intervening with military force to stop this aggression by itself, if necessary? Favor 59.5 Oppose 36.4 Don't know 4.1 (If opposed or “don’t know” in Q68) Q69. What if other countries agreed to participate in a UN- sponsored effort to stop this aggression, would you then support the US participating in this effort? % total asked Q68 Yes 76.5 30.9 No 18.3 7.1 Don't know 5.2 2.3 (Quarter sample that does not hear Q52, Q54, or Q68) Q70. If North Korea were to attack South Korea would you favor or oppose the US intervening with military force to stop this aggression by itself, if necessary? Favor 33.0 Oppose 61.6 Don't know 5.4 (If opposed or “don’t know” in Q70) Q71. What if other countries agreed to participate in a UN- sponsored effort to stop this aggression, would you then support the US participating in this effort? % total asked Q70 Yes 69.6 46.7 No 27.3 17.8 Don't know 3.1 2.0 (Random half sample) Q72. In sizing US forces to be prepared for possible conflicts, do you think the US should have a military force large enough to fight a war the size of the Gulf War involving several hundred thousand troops by itself, in case our allies decline to fight along with us, or do you think that having a military force this size would be excessive? The US should have a force this big 58.3 It would be excessive 36.9 Don't know 4.7 (If "should" or "don't know" in Q72) Q73. Do you think the US should have enough military force to fight two such wars by itself at the same time or do you think this would be excessive? % total asked Q72 The US should have a force this big 37.5 23.1 It would be excessive 59.7 36.8 Don't know 4.3 3.0 Combined results from Q72 and Q73 Favor two war requirement 23.1 Oppose two war requirement 73.7 Don't know 3.2 (If “should” or “don’t know” in Q73) Q74. Let me try to give you a sense of the cost factor in this decision. If the US has the military forces to win two Gulf-size wars by itself, it would cost 50 to 80 billion dollars more per year than if the US had the military forces to win one by itself. In this light, do you feel that it would be worth the extra cost to have these additional military forces? % total asked Q74 Yes, worth the cost 67.5 16.7 No, not worth the cost 24.8 6.1 Don't know 12.7 3.1 Combined results from Q72, Q73, and Q74 Favor two war requirement 16.7 Oppose two war requirement 79.8 Don't Know 3.5 (Half sample that does not hear Q72) Q75. When military planners decide how big US forces need to be, they consider what possible situations the US might face abroad. For instance, they plan how much military power would be needed to win a war if, say, Iraq invaded Kuwait again, or North Korea invaded South Korea. There's a discussion whether the US should have the forces to win more than one such war at a time, and whether the US can assume that allies will join the war effort. Here are two options. Please tell me which one would you say comes closer to your point of view. (Randomly reverse order) Option A. The US should be able to win two wars about the size of the Gulf War at the same time without help from allies. or Option B. The US should be able to win one war about the size of the Gulf War without help from allies. Option A 39.1 Option B 53.1 Don't know 7.9 (Asked only to those who choose "Option A" or “Don’t Know” in Q75) Q76. Let me try to give you a sense of the cost factor in this decision. If the US has the military forces to win TWO wars, about the size of the Gulf War, by itself, it would cost 50 to 100 billion dollars more per year than if the US had the military forces to win ONE such war by itself. In this light, do you feel that it would be worth the extra cost to have these additional military forces? % total asked Q75 Yes, worth the cost 50.4 23.6 No, not worth the cost 42.5 20.0 Don't know 7.1 3.3 Combined results from Q75 and Q76 Favor two war requirement 23.6 Oppose two war requirement 73.1 Don't Know 3.3 STATEMENT: In closing, I would like to ask a few questions about you. This is for statistical analysis only. Q77. What is your age? 18 to 29 19.1 30 to 45 36.6 46 to 65 28.7 Over 65 15.0 Refused .7 Q78. Are you a registered voter? Yes 89.9 No 9.9 Don't know/Refused .2 Q79. In politics today, do you think of yourself as: Strongly Republican 19.1 Leaning Towards Republican 15.2 Strongly Democrat 18.7 Leaning Towards Democrat 12.8 Independent 30.7 Other 1.5 (Don't Know/Refused) 2.2 Q80. Who did you vote for in 1992, or did you not find time to vote that year? Bill Clinton 34.7 George Bush 28.3 Ross Perot 10.6 Other 2.8 Didn't find time to vote 18.5 Other 5.1 (Don't Know/Refused) Q81. What is the highest level of education that you have had? Some High School 5.7 High School Graduate 27.0 Some College 31.6 4 Year College Degree 21.5 Advanced Degree (Master's Plus) 13.5 Refused .6 Q82. What is your ethnic affiliation? (Don't read, let them answer) White/Caucasian 84.3 Black/African American 7.8 Other 6.2 Refused 1.7 Q83. Would you say that you are a born-again Christian, or is this not a term you would use to describe yourself? Yes, born-again Christian 33.6 Not a term I would use 65.5 Refused .9 Q84. Would you say that you listen to call-in talk radio shows about politics: A lot 10.7 Sometimes 35.0 Hardly ever 28.3 Never 25.4 Refused .6 Q85. Have you written or called a member of Congress in the last year? Yes 30.2 No 69.2 Refused .7 Q86. Here is a range of household incomes. Just stop me when I read an amount that is MORE than the correct category for your household. $15,000 11.5 $25,000 17.3 $45,000 31.3 $70,000 20.5 $100,000 7.3 More Than $100,000 4.6 Refused 7.5 Q87. Last question, if we were to contact you as a follow-up to this survey, for the purpose of elaborating on some of your answers, would you be willing to participate? Yes 78.6 No 20.5 Refused .9 (Determine if respondent is male or female and select appropriate answer; do not ask respondent their gender) Female 53.2 Male 46.3


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