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Half Want Troops Out of Europe, Japan, But South Korea's Another Story

A plurality of voters think the United States should remove troops from Western Europe and Japan and let them defend themselves. But when it comes to South Korea, most voters think we should stay.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 49% of Likely U.S. voters think we should remove troops from Western Europe and let the region defend itself. Forty-eight percent (48%) feel the same way about Japan. However, 60% say the United States should leave its troops in South Korea. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Thirty-four percent (34%) think the United States should leave troops in Western Europe, and 36% think troops should stay in Japan. Just 30%, on the other hand, think the United States should remove troops from South Korea.

Earlier polling found that voters are fairly evenly divided as to whether the federal government spends too much or too little on national defense, but most also appear to dramatically underestimate how much is actually spent. Removing troops from Western Europe and Japan could reduce military spending by tens of billions of dollars annually.

Eighty-two percent (82%) believe that economic challenges are a greater potential threat to the United States than military challenges. Most believe the country’s military strategy should focus narrowly on defending the United States and its interests. The United States currently spends about as much on defense as the rest of the world combined, a fact that is recognized by only a third of voters.

From a different perspective, America spends about five times as much per capita on defense as the average European country.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 27, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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