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Voters Want Leaders to Put People Over the Pentagon, Poll Shows

Health Care, Education, Environmental Protection Top Military Spending as Voter Priorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A majority of voters support reallocating money away from the Pentagon and to domestic needs like health care, education and environmental protection, according to new polling by Data For Progress and YouGov. By a 52-34% margin, voters say they would support shifting money from the Pentagon to other domestic needs. The Data for Progress/YouGov poll asked voters:

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the United States is expected to spend $738 billion on its military in 2020. Some say that maintaining a dominant global military footprint is necessary to keep us safe and is worth the cost. Others say that money could be better spent on domestic needs like health care, education, or protecting the environment. Based on what you’ve just read, would you [support or oppose] reallocating money from the Pentagon budget to other priorities?

By a more than 3-1 margin, Democratic voters say they favor reallocating Pentagon spending (66-18%). Independents indicated support by a 46-39% margin, and 39% of Republicans indicated support while 52% were opposed.

Half of those polled also were given this additional information after the reference to the $738 billion projected Pentagon budget for 2020: That’s more than the next seven countries combined and more than the U.S. budget for education, federal courts, affordable housing, local economic development, and the State Department combined. Results varied only modestly with the additional information.

“Despite millions and millions spent by the war industries to push the line that America always needs to spend more on the Pentagon, the American people get it: We spend hundreds of billions on the Pentagon that should be reallocated to human needs and protecting our planet – investments that truly would make our country stronger,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. See the reactions to the poll by additional experts.

This survey was based on 1,009 interviews of self-identified registered voters, conducted by YouGov on the internet from Sept. 27-30. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, U.S. Census region and 2016 presidential vote choice. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s panel to be representative of registered voters. The weights range from 0.16 to 4.9 with a mean of 1 and a standard deviation of 0.6. The margin of error was +/- 3.5%. This question was asked as part of a broader survey on foreign policy.