July 24, 2007

Say Military Strength Ensures Peace

49%

That’s the percentage of Americans who say they think that maintaining military strength is the best way to ensure peace – the lowest percentage in the 20-year history of Pew values surveys.

Only about half of Americans (49%) now say they think that maintaining military strength is the best way to ensure peace – the lowest percentage in the 20- year history of Pew values surveys and down sharply from the 62% who said so in the summer of 2002, less than a year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. While the partisan divide on this principle is large, it is not much bigger than it was four years ago. The percentage of Republicans subscribing to this view has fluctuated only modestly in recent years; currently, 72% of Republicans agree that the best way to ensure peace is through military strength, a level largely unchanged from 2002 and 2003 (72% and 69%, respectively). By contrast, just 40% of Democrats believe that military strength best ensures peace, down a bit from 2003 (44%). In 2002, a solid majority of Democrats (55%) said that peace is best ensured through military strength. Opinion among independents has followed a track similar to that of the Democrats. Currently, 46% of independents agree that the best way to ensure peace is through military strength, compared with 51% four years ago and 62% in 2002. There also has been a substantial shift on this issue among self-described moderates – regardless of party. Currently, 43% of moderates say that military strength is the best way to guarantee peace, down 12 points from 2003 (55%).
Read More