Americans Favor Allowing Women in Combat

Americans Favor Allowing Women in Combat

by Alyssa Brown

Men and women equally likely to support policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nearly three-quarters of Americans say that, given the opportunity, they would vote "for" allowing women to serve in combat roles. These results are from a Gallup survey conducted just after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the Pentagon is lifting the ban on women serving in direct combat.

Americans' Support for Allowing Women to Serve in Combat, January 2013

The findings, from a quick-reaction poll conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking on Jan. 24, also show that men and women are equally likely to favor allowing women to serve in combat roles.

There are modest partisan differences. Democrats, including independents who lean Democratic, are more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to support allowing women to serve in combat -- 83% vs. 70% -- although clear majorities from both parties favor it.

Those who are younger are more likely to favor the policy than are those who are older. Among those aged 18 to 49, 84% favor the policy, compared with 63% of those aged 50 and older -- a difference of 21 percentage points.

Gallup has asked Americans about permitting women to serve in combat over the years using different question wordings. Gallup has found at least a majority of Americans in favor of it since 1992, including 74% in 2007.

Americans' Support for Allowing Women to Serve in Combat

Bottom Line

The large majority of Americans support the Pentagon's new policy allowing women to serve in combat roles. Both men and women favor this policy change. Democrats and those under age 50 are the most likely to support it, although there is clear majority support in all subgroups.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 24, 2013, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 513 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cell phone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phones numbers are selected using random digit dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Polls conducted entirely in one day, such as this one, are subject to additional error or bias not found in polls conducted over several days.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit

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