Poll: US trust in military falls amid politicization, Afghan withdrawal

Posted 52 days ago


The trust the American people have in the U. S. military fell for a third consecutive year according to the Ronald Reagan Institute’s annual national defense survey. Concerns about the politicization of the military and the handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan were driving forces behind the losses in confidence.

The percentage of Americans who trust the military “a great deal” has fallen every year since the Reagan Institute began the survey in 2018 and has declined 25 points, from 70 percent to 45 percent in those three years. In the time between February 2021, shortly after President Joe Biden took office, and now, the U. S. trust in the military fell 11 points — the sharpest single-year decline since the survey began.

According to the topline survey results, 56 percent of respondents trusted the military “a great deal” in February 2021, as compared to 45 percent as of the most recent November results. 27 percent of respondents trusted the military “some” in February, as compared to 33 percent in November. Nine percent trust the military “a little” in February, compared to 11 percent in November. Six percent trusted the military “not much at all” in February, compared to 10 percent who felt that way in November. Two percent of respondents were unsure how much they trusted the military.

When asked to explain why they felt the level of confidence they did about the military, those with high measures of confidence felt that way because of confidence they felt in service members. Those who felt less confident cited a range of reasons.

“But political leadership is at the top of that list,” Rachel Hoff, the Reagan Institute’s policy director, told Military Times. “So that could range from anything from presidents of the United States ― whether that’s the current president, the previous president ― it could range from the way that our political leaders, say in Congress, talk about the military, the politicization of military leadership more broadly.”

The survey also found 40 percent of respondents had “a great deal” of confidence the military could act in a professional and nonpolitical manner. 31 percent had “some” confidence, 12 percent had “a little” confidence and 13 percent had “not much at all.”

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