Republicans and Democrats across the country are fed up with massive federal spending – and that includes the Pentagon. That’s according to a public opinion survey by the Program for Public Consultation, the Center for Public Integrity and the Stimson Center, a nonprofit think-tank.
In districts all around the nation, the study showed that 74 percent of Republicans were in favor of cuts and 80 percent of active Democratic voters said they want less defense spending in the military’s budget. Voters stated that they wanted a budget for the year 2013 which would be nearly 20 percent less than current defense spending.
Red-district respondents want to cut the Defense Department budget by 15 percent, while the blue-controlled districts wanted a 22 percent cut.
“The idea that Americans’ would want to keep total defense spending up so as to preserve local jobs is not supported by the data,” said Steven Kull, director of the Program for Public Consultation. Kull conducted the survey with the Stimson Center and the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism group.
There were some differences between the red and blue districts. The Democrats wanted bigger cuts to missile defense and naval force, while Republicans called for more cuts to military health care.
Pork spending in districts has little effect on voter support for defense spending, the group claimed its findings showed. “Overall there was no statistical correlation between the level of defense spending in a district and the level of support for defense cuts.”
This year, the total defense spending is $645 billion, however, the preferred budget for the average voter for next year is $116 billion, an 18 percent cut. Money lawmakers are trying to balance the budget could sorely use.
The results from the study will disappoint “defense hawks” and industry officials fighting against spending cuts, especially those claiming to protect defense jobs in their districts. But that doesn’t seem to stop the voters from voicing their opinions. In April, voters participated in a survey that first presented and explained competing arguments for higher or lower defense spending.
Some results of that survey have previously been released, however, the authors further examined the party differences and didn’t find any statistically significant separation of attitudes on defense spending cuts between Republicans and Democrats. Also, voters in districts with or without defense industry jobs overwhelmingly said they want the federal government to spend less.
If the cuts become enacted in January, sequestration would mandate across-the-board cuts from DOD’s budget which could be about $500 billion and other government spendings over the next 10 years. DOD officials such as the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, have constantly blasted sequestration as a doomsday scenario that would devastate the military and jeopardize national security.
The request for these defense budget cuts have yet to be passed and could end up not passing until next year. While Senate leaders have stated their request of the budget would be similar to what President Obama proposed, Republicans have said they would add more to the budget, CPI noted.
Pia Talwar is a college graduate with a Bachelors degree in Mass Communications: Print Journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University