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72% of Americans would not fight for their country, poll shows

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers' boots. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar)
November 13, 2023

A new poll shows that 72% of American voters would not be willing to volunteer to fight for their country if the United States faced a major conflict.

According to Newsweek, the new poll of 1,029 likely voters in the United States, conducted by Echelon Insights, a research institute, showed that the overwhelming majority of U.S. adults would not be willing to serve in the United States military if the country faced a major war.

The Echelon Insights poll obtained by Newsweek was conducted Oct. 23-26, following the brutal Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel on Oct. 7, which have led to concerns regarding the potential for escalated conflict in the Middle East and fears that the United States could be entangled in another war.

While 72% of voters indicated that they would not be willing to volunteer to serve in the U.S. military in the face of a major conflict, 21% said they would be willing to volunteer to fight for their country. Roughly 7% of voters answered that they were not sure whether or not they would be willing to fight for the United States.

READ MORE: Americans’ confidence in US military lowest in 26 years: Poll

Tom Shugart, a former Navy attack submarine commander and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told Newsweek that the recent poll results require additional context.

“I’m very skeptical of that being accurate because I think the ‘why’ you’re in a war can dramatically change the answer to that question,” he said. “I was in the military before 9/11; a lot of society didn’t really think about the military very much [before then].”

David Eustice, CEO of Military Recruiting Experts, told Newsweek that an overview of American history shows that U.S. citizens “need to be convinced to get into [a] war.” He contrasted how Americans required a reason to support the Vietnam War, while the Afghanistan War “was immediate and had wide support because something happened to our country.”

Eustice added, “If we are convinced that it’s something that we need to do Americans generally will do it; less people joining is another matter and it’s very complex.”

A Daily Mail poll released early last month that was conducted by J.L. Partners showed 64% of 1,000 likely voters were willing to die defending the United States in the event of an invasion; however, the poll showed that 30% of Americans ages 18-29 would rather surrender than die fighting for the United States. The Daily Mail poll also showed that only 46% of Democrats would be willing to die fighting for their country.

In addition to fewer Americans being willing to fight for their country, a Gallup poll conducted in June showed that confidence in the U.S. military dropped to roughly 60%, which represented the lowest confidence in the military since 1997. The poll marked the sixth consecutive year of decline for confidence in the U.S. military.