WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As President Donald Trump proposes a nearly 5% increase in U.S. defense spending, 25% of Americans believe the U.S. currently spends too little on defense, while 29% stay it spends too much. Meanwhile, 43% -- the highest in 15 years -- say it spends about the right amount.
The percentage believing the federal government is spending too little is down from 37% in February 2016, the last year of Barack Obama's presidency. But it is also down from 37% in 2017 and 33% in 2018 -- the first two years of Trump's presidency.
See Gallup's Military and National Defense A-Z page for the full trend originating in 1969.
The findings are similar when Americans are asked about the strength of U.S. national defense. The largest segment -- 55% -- currently says the national defense is about right, while 31% believe it is not as strong as it should be. Relatively few, just 12%, say it is stronger than needed.
Perceptions of National Defense by Party ID
The latest results are based on Gallup's World Affairs survey, conducted Feb. 1-10.
The rise in Americans' perceptions this year that the country is spending the right amount on defense stems from increases in that viewpoint among both party groups.
Currently, 48% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believe the U.S. is spending the right amount on defense, up from 31% in February 2018. This coincides with a sharp drop, from 54% last year to 37% today, in Republicans saying too little is being spent.
Democrats, including Democratic-leaning independents, also grew a bit more satisfied over the past year with defense spending, with slightly fewer saying too much is being spent and slightly more saying it's the right amount.
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