Most Americans favor cutting America's defense budget in key areas including nuclear weapons and missile defense, a new survey shows.
The University of Maryland Program for Public Consultation survey
, taken between Dec. 20 and Feb. 1 and released Wednesday, finds a majority of the 7,000 respondents supports $2 billion in cuts to air power, $4 billion to ground forces, $2 billion to naval forces, $3 billion to nuclear weapons and $1 billion to missile defense.
No majority emerged for either cutting or increasing the budgets of the Marine Corps or Special Ops forces.
In total, a majority would slash the U.S. defense budget by $12 billion — but in its breakdown by party, the survey finds a majority of Republicans would leave the budget as is, while the majority of Democrats would cut it by $36 billion.
The margin of error is plus or minus 1.4 percent.
In other findings, Defense News
reports the survey found:
- 54 percent favored canceling the F-35 join strike fighter program in favor of upgrading current fighters;
- 56 percent favored continuing funding for the development of a new long range strike bomber, which will have the designation B-21, as Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James recently announced.
- A majority favored shrinking the number of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers from 11 to 10, except in Virginia, home of the Newport News shipyard, where 45 percent favored the full complement of 11.
- 54 percent opposed shrinking the number of new nuclear submarines from 12 to eight, except in New York, where 54 percent favor reducing the size of the nuclear fleet.
"Given all the talk about increasing the defense budget, we were surprised to find how much Americans are not sold on increases, including a majority of Republicans nationwide," survey director Steven Kull said said in a statement, Defense News reports.
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