Poll: Majority Support Women In Combat Roles

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 29 2013 1:23 PM

Two-Thirds of Americans Support the End of the Ban on Women in Combat

104246011
Members of the medical staff from the U.S. Army's 31st Combat Support Hospital carry a young girl from a MEDEVAC helicopter on Sept. 18, 2010 near Marja, Afghanistan

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Two-thirds of of Americans say they support an end to the ban on female soldiers serving in combat, according to a new Washington Post-Pew poll conducted after Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced the rescission of the ban last week.

Sixty-six percent of those surveyed said they support women serving in units that engage in close ground combat. Most Americans, 58 percent, also see the change as a catalyst for more opportunities for women in the military. Just 7 percent believe it'll make things worse for women, while 30 percent don't think the change will matter very much.

Advertisement

Broken down by demographic, support for the policy change is still strong: While only 52 percent of those over 65 support it (compared to 74 percent of those 18-29), pretty much every demographic polled with majority support. On opportunities for women in the military, just 46 percent of Republicans believe the change will have a positive effect, compared to 67 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of those in a military household.

What about Americans' views on how this will harm or help military effectiveness, one of the big terms thrown around by those opposed to a previous military milestone, the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell?" Here are the results: 

file

A plurality (49 percent) don't really think it'll matter either way, while those who do think it'll have an impact on military effectiveness lean towards seeing it as a positive: 29 percent believe it'll improve things, while 15 percent say it'll do some harm. And while military families are a bit more skeptical of its effect—26 percent see it as a boon to effectiveness, while 22 percent think it'll have a negative impact—it's, once again, Republicans who go against the trend: 20 percent of Republicans believe that women in combat roles will improve military effectiveness, while 29 percent think it'll harm it.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 2 2014 6:00 AM Can’t Stomach It I was shamed for getting gastric bypass surgery. Should I keep the procedure a secret?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?