By Carlo Muñoz - 06/21/13 04:09 PM EDT
Nearly sixty percent of Americans believe women should be eligible for the military draft, according to a new poll released Friday.
The results come on the heels of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's decision to open up the ranks of the U.S. special operations forces to female soldiers, sailors and Marines.
Sixty-one percent of women polled by Florida-based CapitalSoup.com and the Mason-Dixon Polling and Research firm want the draft opened up to women, compared to 35 percent of men.
Only 35 percent of female voters believed the military draft should remain closed to women, according to the poll, released Friday.
Four percent of women said they were undecided compared to two percent of men.
Democrats are more likely to support drafting women than Republicans, according to the poll of 1,000 registered voters.
Overall, 59 percent of those polled said women should be drafted.
Under the new Pentagon policy, female candidates will be able to join the Navy SEALs, Army Rangers and Special Forces, as well as front-line Army and Marine Corps infantry units.
Hagel's announcement builds on former Pentagon chief Leon Panetta’s decision in January to end the military’s long-standing ban on women in combat.
Female soldiers have already played a key role in U.S. special operations.
All-women units known as Female Engagement Teams work alongside American regular and special forces units to train and equip U.S.-backed local militias in Afghanistan.
Female soldiers and officers have also risen through the intelligence and personnel fields within Special Operations Command and the command’s service components.