Public Support for the Military is Surprisingly Stable

A couple weeks ago, Pew published the results of a poll on public support for various professions including the military. Any way you slice “the public,” support for servicemembers is astoundingly stable:

Credit: Pew Forum

Pew doesn’t state their margin of error but they do note that, “there are no significant differences in views on the military’s contribution to society among adults younger and older than age 50 or among those with differing levels of formal schooling.” I assume this means that support across the other measures–gender, race, and party identification–has variation that is slightly greater than the margin of error.  Parsing the results with the Mark I Human Eyeball, the only interesting variation I find is across race and education.

81% of whites answered, “a lot” when asked ,”how much do you think [members of the military] contribute to the well-being of our society?” compared with 72% of blacks and hispanics. According to my stereotypical understanding of the tension between the black population and the government, slightly lesser support for members of the military among blacks is not especially notable. However, my perception has always been that the hispanic population tends to lean toward conservatism, so their equally lesser support for members of the military is an interesting corrective. I would love to see more research into this phenomenon.

Although Pew finds no significant difference in views across differing levels of formal schooling, there does seem to be a small trend whereby nuance in support increases with education. While 13% of those with a high school diploma or less answered that members of the military contribute “some” to society’s well-being, this figure increases to 15% for those with some college and up to 19% for those with a four-year degree or more. This seems to be in keeping with higher education’s emphasis on inculcating caution and the inclusion of multiple perspectives into one’s assertions of fact.

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