Public remains divided on military spending

People in the United States remain divided on how to handle military spending, a new poll suggests. 

Thirty-seven percent of the public says the U.S. spends too much on the military and 28 percent says it spends too little, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday. The remaining group says the current levels are about right.

Since 1969, Gallup says people’s opinions of military spending has fluctuated. In 1969, at the peak of the Vietnam war, and in 1990, as the Persian Gulf War began, at least half of the public said military spending was too high.

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In 1981 and 2000, more people said spending was too low compared to those who said it was too high.

Among the political parties, Democrats, 51 percent, and independents, 37 percent, say the U.S. is spending too much on the military. Nearly 50 percent of Republicans, by contrast, say spending is too low. 

The poll comes just days after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel previewed the Pentagon's 2015 budget proposal that will decrease spending. The administration plans to reduce the size of the Army, for instance, to the smallest force since 1940.

A number of lawmakers have criticized the proposal already, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who called the cuts “a serious mistake.”