Poll: Army most important branch
By: Kendall Breitman
May 23, 2014 06:07 AM EDT
Americans consider the U.S. Army to be the most important branch of national defense, according to a poll released Friday.
The Gallup survey shows that the Army leads in importance to Americans with 25 percent, closely followed by the Air Force at 23 percent. The Marines received 19 percent and the Navy was chosen by 17 percent. Americans considered the Coast Guard to be the least important of the five at 3 percent.
The results represent a change from previous times that Gallup conducted this poll. In 2001 and 2002, Americans said the Air Force was the most important. By 2004, the Air Force, Marines and Army were given almost equal standing, and in 2011 the Army was thought the most important, with the Marines a close second.
“This shift in opinion most likely stemmed from the heavy ground combat in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s and early 2010s,” the Gallup analysis of the poll stated. “The Army, the largest branch of the military, has likely improved its standing in the U.S. public’s eyes as a result of the role it played in these conflicts.”
But importance does not mean prestige. While the Army is considered the most important, the Marines have consistently been considered the most prestigious branch of defense in each Gallup poll conducted since 2001.
The poll was conducted among 1,028 adults from May 5 through 8. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.