Record percentage of Americans says defense spending 'about right': Gallup

Record percentage of Americans says defense spending 'about right': Gallup
© Greg Nash

The portion of Americans who believe the nation’s defense spending is “about right” has reached a record high, at 50 percent, compared to 31 percent who say it is too much and 17 percent who say it is too little, a survey from Gallup found.

Those saying spending is about right nearly doubled from 27 percent in 2016, most of it migration from those who said spending was too little, which fell from 37 percent to 17 percent.

The shift in opinion is largely driven by Republicans, who were far less likely to believe the U.S. was not spending enough on defense during the Obama administration. Twenty-three percent of Republicans believed U.S. spending was about right in 2016, compared to 72 percent who believe the same in 2020. About 23 percent of the increase occurred in the past year, according to Gallup.

A similar, albeit smaller, shift occurred among independents, with 42 percent saying the U.S. spends the right amount on defense in 2020 compared to 26 percent in 2016. The percentage who think the U.S. spends too much, 39 percent, was relatively unchanged since 2016.

Fifty-one percent of Democrats said the U.S. spends too much, compared to 39 percent who said the amount is about right and 13 percent who say it spends too little. These figures are largely unchanged over the last five years.