Home / Articles / The Disconnect Beneath the Praise for U.S. Military
At a time when public opinion of most governmentinstitutions slides ever lower, the military represents a rare bright spot: 88% of Americans describe themselves as proud of the men and women who serve in our armed forces.
But these broad sentiments don’t appear to run particularly deep, which presents issues for effective governance.
In polling conducted by YouGov for a Hoover Institution project on civil-military relations, more than half of respondents either didn’t know or had no opinion about some basic questions about the military.
* 55% of respondents didn’t know whether they had confidence in our military to perform well in wartime.
* 52% didn’t know or have an opinion on whether the public would tolerate large numbers of casualties.
* 57% didn’t have an opinion on whether an effective military depends on a clear chain of command.
Answers were often incorrect even when respondents considered themselves knowledgeable (as 48% did); the median response to a question about the size of our armed forces, for example, was off by a factor of six. The incidence of “don’t know” responses suggests a public not bothering to be informed. (Information about the questions and answers, as well as other data on our military, can be found here.)