Three public policy organizations created a survey in which average Americans were given defense budgeting information and were asked to create their own budget for the Pentagon.
The Program for Public Consultation (PPC), Stimson, and the Center for Public Integrity collaborated on the survey and the Stimson Center hosts and event unveiling the results and revealing the linkages and gaps between what the public wants and what their representatives in Congress are spending.
Steven Kull, Director of the Program for Public Consultation, University of Maryland; Matthew Leatherman, Analyst, Stimson's Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense project; and R. Jeffrey Smith, Managing Editor for National Security, Center for Public Integrity, will present their findings.
The survey was designed to answer a series of questions:
What would average Americans do if they were informed about the level of U.S. defense spending and had a chance to weigh the arguments that experts make about how much it should be? Would they boost overall funding, or cut it? Would they spend more on air power or sea power? How much would they say the US should spend on nuclear arms? On major ground forces? On special forces? Do those in red or blue congressional districts and those living near major defense companies respond differently?
The three groups then took the data they received from this exercise and broke it down by voting districts and proximity to defense department projects and contractors to see whether politics, local economies, or both, have more effect on voters' choices.