Poll: Voters from both parties want to cut defense

The survey's creators took a new look at analyzing the data by breaking down respondents into Republican and Democratic districts.

Republicans in Congress have been pushing to stop $500 billion in defense cuts that are set to hit over the next decade through sequestration, which they and Pentagon officials have said would be devastating to the military.


The defense industry has backed them up by warning that 1 million jobs could be lost under sequestration.

In the study, however, respondents supported reducing the military budget by an average of 18 percent: 15 for those in red districts and 22 for those in blue ones.

"The idea that Americans' would want to keep total defense spending up so as to preserve local jobs is not supported by the data," Steven Kull, director of PPC, said in a statement.

Of course, the survey might not mean much when it comes to how the defense cuts play in the election, where they have begun receiving increased attention after big contractors threatened layoff notices ahead of November.

That’s because the respondents in the survey were presented with arguments both for and against cutting the defense budget, something a small percentage of voters are likely to seek out. In addition, campaign ads and stump speeches focused on the defense cuts aren’t likely to be interested in crafting a balanced debate on the issue.

Kull said the survey indicates this has played a role in shaping Americans’ perception of defense spending.

In a May release about the survey, Koll said that the PPC survey found more favored cutting defense than other surveys that asked a simple question.

“This suggests that Americans generally underestimate the size of the defense budget and that when they receive balanced information about its size they are more likely to cut it to reduce the deficit,” he said.