A majority of Americans approve of President Trump’s plan to create a “Space Force” as a sixth branch of the U.S. military, according to a new American Barometer poll.
The survey, conducted by Hill.TV and the HarrisX polling company, found that 57 percent approved of “creating a sixth branch of the military, the Space Force, which would be designed to protect U.S. interests and assets in space.”
Nineteen percent of respondents said they “strongly approved” of the plan, while 38 percent said they “somewhat approved.”
A total of 42 percent of respondents said they disapproved of the Space Force when asked the same question, with 17 percent strongly disapproving and 25 percent saying they somewhat disapproved.
The survey also found a partisan split on the issue, with 80 percent of Republicans approving in some way of the Space Force, while only 39 percent of Democrats agreed.
Independents appeared to side with Republicans on the issue, with 59 percent saying they approved of the new branch.
Pollster Dan Cox said that many Americans have not yet started to pay attention to the coverage surrounding the Space Force.
“I think it’s an issue that a lot of people probably aren’t paying attention to,” Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball on “What America’s Thinking.”
“As this thing develops, I think people will become a little bit more familiar with it, and may have a little more solid opinions,” he added.
Trump officially directed the Pentagon in June to establish Space Force as the sixth branch in the U.S. military.
The idea had been met with skepticism from military officials, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has since warmed to the idea.
“It is becoming a contested war-fighting domain and we have got to adapt to that reality. It’s on par with the air, land, sea and cyber space domains in terms of it being contested. We’ve got to be able to compete to deter and win,” Mattis said earlier this month.
The administration will need to enlist support from lawmakers in order to create a new military branch. The House GOP has largely been supportive of the plan but senators from both parties have raised concerns.
The American Barometer poll was conducted on Aug. 18 and 19 among 1,002 registered voters. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.
— Julia Manchester