While 10% of Canadians viewed the military as "not at all favorable," only 3% of Britons had a "low" or "very low" view of the military. As for the media, reporting of the war was sometimes sensationalized and often ahistorical and ethnocentric. By June 1968, 72 percent of the country believed the United States was either "losing" or "standing still" in Vietnam. One of Gallup's key measures used to assess public support for both the Vietnam War and the current war in Iraq asks Americans whether or not it was a "mistake" to send troops to those countries. When those polled were asked if … According to a Gallup Poll, the percentage of Americans who thought the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to fight in Vietnam: August 1965: 24% March 1966: 26% May 1966: 36% November 1966: 31% January 1967: 32% April 1967: 37% July 1967: 41% October 1967: 47% December 1967: 44% February 1968: 46% April 1968: 48% August 1968: 53% September 1968: 54% January 1969: 52% September 1969: 55% January 1970: 52% April 1970: 51% May 1970: 56% January 1971: 59% May 1971: 50% January 197… The data trends for both wars (that is, every time the question was asked about Vietnam and every time it has been asked about Iraq to date) are presented in the accompanying graphs. This version has been updated to correctly identify the publication as Life magazine. The Morgan Gallup Poll Data (MGPD) displayed below is an indicator of the change in attitudes of the Australian people towards the involvement in the war. by Jodie T. Allen, Nilanthi Samaranayake, and James Albrittain, Jr. If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. In retrospect, a large majority of the U.S. public now thinks that sending U.S. troops to fight Vietnam was a mistake — a Gallup poll 1 taken in November 2000 found 69% of the adult population taking that view [Watch: The America From Scratch collection]. Approval ratings for President Lyndon Johnson and his handling of the war dropped more than 10 percent. Public opinion shaped out the United States involvement in Vietnam, 60% of the public in 1965 favored the war. However, the lingering legacy of the Vietnam War, where public opinion played a decisive role in U.S. moral commitment to the conflict, combined with similar challenges in maintaining national moral commitment to conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last fifteen years, caused Army doctrinal thinkers to revisit Clausewitz’s theoretical assertions about COGs. By a margin of more than two-to-one (51% to 22%), Americans think the U.S. should have stayed out of the conflict, versus those who believed the "did the right thing" by participating in the war. The U.S. regained all its lost ground, but the Tet Offensive was political defeat for the U.S., partly due to media coverage. Michael D. Sherer. Fighting in Vietnam: The U.S. … Seven in 10 Democrats think the U.S. should have stayed out of Vietnam, while Republicans are more divided. Antiwar demonstrations also affected public opinion indirectly, contributing to the rise of domestic strife that fed a general, pervasive war-weariness, which in turn stimulated pressures for de-escalation and withdrawal. Seven in 10 Democrats think the U.S. should have stayed out of Vietnam, while Republicans are more divided. The polls continued trending against the war until U.S. troops were withdrawn in 1973. Take the Vietnam War, the country's first "television war." Hovering U.S. Army helicopters pour machine gun fire into the tree line to cover the advance of South Vietnamese ground troops in an attack on a Viet Cong camp 18 miles north of Tay Ninh, Vietnam, near the Cambodian border, March 1965. Public opinion by country. U.S. military officials had previously reported that counter-insurgency in South Vietnam was being prosecuted successfully. The Tet Offensive was a turning point for public opinion. In 1965, Americans were largely supportive. While public opinion with respect to the rightness and progress of the war in Iraq has followed a path not unlike that charted during the Vietnam War, one important difference stands out: public attitudes toward the military. 8 Seymour Martin Lipset, "The President, the Polls, and Vietnam," Trans-Action 3 (Sep- tember/October 1966): 20-22. This is not to say, however, that the traditional view of the media's impact during the war is useless. Public Opinion, and Presidential Policy During the Vietnam War Mark Lorell, Charles Kelley, Jr. With the assistance of Deborah Hensler March 1985 4 A Project AIR FORCE report J UN 1 7 19851 prepared for the United States Air Force S 1700 MAIN STREET P.O. This poll was conducted by telephone January 10-14, 2018 among a random sample of 1,009 adults nationwide. Quote on p. 20. Public opinion polls are never perfect, but they provide a useful tool for measuring the public’s view of the Vietnam War. [ICYMI: Should 12-Year-Olds be Allowed to Vote?]. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus four percentage points. Polling by the Gallup Organization at the time indicates that before the Tet Offensive, most Americans were supportive of the war effort. Americans who are under 50 are less likely to think the U.S. should have stayed out, and more likely to not have an opinion about the Vietnam War. CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite reported that the U.S. was "mired in stalemate." Public opinion polls are never perfect, but they provide a useful tool for measuring the public's view of the Vietnam War. However, by January 1969, the … This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The number of people in the U.S. who self-identified as a "hawk," or supportive of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ("doves" opposed it), dropped almost 20 percent. Drawing on the following charts and graphs, construct an explanation for changing American views toward the Vietnam War. Fully 64 percent believed that America was right to send troops to Vietnam and only 21 percent disagreed. It showed the true costs of the war to people in the U.S., who increasingly concluded that Vietnam was not worth the price they were paying. Short history of Vietnam. Roughly a quarter of respondents (27%) had no opinion. Referring to data like opinion polls, evaluate American attitudes to the Vietnam War between 1964 and 1975. A nonprofit journalism website produced by: We take political news coverage for granted today—even though most people don't understand the assumptions reporters make when writing stories or why certain stories appear in their Facebook news feed. Evaluate the role of art, music and literature in the anti-Vietnam War … Check your local station's schedule for broadcast dates and times. Five key legacies of the Vietnam War stand out as having shaped the nation -- and indeed, continue to do so today, writes Rudy deLeon. That interpretation is simply not supported by the Gallup polls conducted throughout the war. By 1965, more than 90 percent of U.S. households had a television and almost 60 percent of them used it to get most of their news. Americans were shocked to see Marines battling Vietcong commandos for the U.S. embassy in Saigon, the center of the American presence in Vietnam. The margin of error includes the effects of standard weighting procedures which enlarge sampling error slightly. A now-famous photo of a South Vietnamese general executing a Vietcong prisoner forced Americans to question their allies. Vietnam War Photos and Public Opinion. It effectively refutes old myths and new and deserves a wide reading. The execution provided an iconic image that helped sway public opinion in the United States against the war. Public Opinion - Morgan Gallup Polls. most people don't understand the assumptions reporters make when writing stories, why certain stories appear in their Facebook news feed. Those who viewed Vietnam as "not a mistake" would never again be in the majority. Perhaps media coverage of Vietnam did not win over "no opinions," turn hawks into doves or vice versa. 65% of Russians believe their military, which is the second largest in the world, does their job "just about always" or "most of the time." While military support is very high in most countries, there is variation. As background for these analyses, I begin with a brief historical review of the two wars and the politics they spawned. During World War II, the majority of Americans believed that the draft was working fairly in their communities, with more than eight in ten saying so in Gallup polls throughout the war. Given the nine months between the polls, however, that increase in dissent could also be explained by continuing casualties. Journalism Quarterly 1989 66: 2, 391-530 Download Citation. These statistics should be used in your exam. 11. Television coverage, graphic and uncensored for the first time, probably did decrease support for the war over the long-term. The poll employed a random digit dial methodology. The error for subgroups may be higher and is available by request. CBS News Poll: U.S. involvement in Vietnam (pdf), California Privacy/Information We Collect. Vietnam is, of course, Exhibit A in the history of American attitudes toward armed conflict in the post-World War II period. Recounts Public Opinion in the United States regarding the Vietnam War. From 1965-1967 Australia's involvement in the Vietnam war was met with a smiley face. The next year, as protests continued, polls addressed the issue more frequently. For the landline sample, a respondent was randomly selected from all adults in the household. As public opinion shifted so did the image of the war in news magazine photos. On Jan. 30, 1968, the Vietcong attacked 120 American and South Vietnamese locations. The events of Tet in early 1968 as a whole were also remarkable in shifting public opinion regarding the war. A Gallup poll in October 1965 showed that 64 percent of the American public approved of our involvement in Vietnam. Vietnam Changed Everything The general public seemed satisfied with the draft system in polls before Vietnam. In 1965, Americans were largely supportive. Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the our 24/7 digital news network. © 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click on download. These numbers did not change dramatically until May 1966, when the percentage of Americans who saw the Vietnam War as “a mistake” jumped ten points, likely due to increasing casualties. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Glen Mills, Pa. This is particularly true of younger Americans. As the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive approaches, few Americans today think the U.S. did the right thing in getting involved in the fighting in Vietnam. The traditional narrative also holds true for the Tet Offensive. Independents tend to think the U.S. should have stayed out, though they are also the most likely group to have no opinion. (George Herring The Wilson Quarterly) About the Author . In December 1967, a Gallup poll found the American public almost evenly split on the question of whether sending troops to fight in Vietnam was a mistake. You may wish to use timelines for the Vietnam War for reference: (External Links) Worst of all, the scale and scope of the offensive led many Americans to believe that their leaders were lying to them about American progress in Vietnam. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. HOW JOURNALISM INFLUENCED AMERICAN PUBLIC OPINION DURING THE VIETNAM WAR: A CASE STUDY OF THE BATTLE OF AP BAC, THE GULF OF TONKIN INCIDENT, THE TET OFFENSIVE, AND THE MY LAI MASSACRE by Kyle Hadyniak A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for a Degree with Honors (Journalism) The Honors College University of Maine April 2015 Advisory … Poll numbers began reflecting an erosion of support that had held up for three years of a growing American war, even as anti-war demonstrations increased in size and intensity in the U.S. Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc.All rights reserved. In a December Harris poll, 40% of Americans didn’t think people who were against the war in Vietnam even had the right to undertake peaceful demonstrations against the war. Gordon Black, "Public Opinion and the War in Vietnam," American Political Science Review 61 (June 1967): 317-33. 80" 13 SANTA MONICA, CA 21 1U APPR(NED FOR PUBUC RELEASE: DISIRIBIMON UNLIMITED The data have been weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures on demographic variables. By February 1968 Americans were divided, and by 1970 most thought that sending U.S. troops to fight in Vietnam was a mistake. Instead, it made both sides louder and more entrenched in their opinions. A September 1969 poll showed a seven point uptick in opposition to the war from January. That June, Life magazine published the names and photographs of all 242 Americans killed over a one-week period. Morgan Gallup Polls - Attitudes Towards The Vietnam War. The impact of television coverage of the Vietnam War was meaningful, but probably in a different way than is usually explained. With the passage of time, the percentage of Americans who think the U.S. did the right thing in Vietnam is relatively the same as when CBS first asked the question back in 1985, while the percentage that says America should have stayed out of the fighting has dropped over time, while the percentage who don't have an opinion has climbed. The polls fluctuated over the next year but showed increasing disenchantment with the war. Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Time magazine as the publication that published the names and photographs of all 242 Americans killed over a one-week period. Troops to Vietnam Was …. But how did this really impact what people thought about our involvement in Vietnam? Which policies, developments or events caused significant shifts in public opinion? Curiously, the percentage of Americans who viewed Vietnam as "not a mistake" increased too. Public Opinion and the Vietnam War . The other large jump was in May 1970. For the cell sample, interviews were conducted with the person who answered the phone. As a result, the polls shifted. Public opinion about Vietnam: support for the war, protestors, veterans, military strategies, Johnson’s handling, and more. President Richard Nixon's Cambodian Incursion and the ensuing protests, including the Kent State shootings when the Ohio National Guard fired live rounds into a crowd of unruly protesters, increased opposition to the war by five points. 12. Fully 64 percent believed that America was right to send troops to Vietnam and only 21 percent disagreed. The traditional view holds that Americans watched the news in horror and were pushed against the war by graphic and misleading portrayals of the war. This may not seem devastating today, but there is simply no one Americans trust today like they trusted Walter Cronkite in 1968. shape public opinion on wars. Independents tend to think the U.S. … Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish using live interviewers. "The Vietnam War" premiered on PBS in September 2017. With only a few words of introduction, combat photojournalist David Douglas Duncan presented his images of eight days in February, 1968; eight days that a group of U.S. Marines were under siege at Khe Sanh, Vietnam. The war has also produced a sharp rise in the general view of the state of the nation, as measured by one question that Republican poll takers favor. The Vietnam War ended with 58,220 dead and a confused American public who disagreed with the policies set in place throughout the bloodiest times of the war. These numbers did not change dramatically until May 1966, when the percentage of Americans who saw the Vietnam War as "a mistake" jumped ten points, likely due to increasing casualties. This video is part of the course "Civic Engagement and Public Opinion… Gallup Poll 1965-1971: Sending U.S. The Wars The public's divergent reactions to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq reflect, in large part, the particulars of … What ideas, tactics and methods were used by individuals and groups opposed to Western involvement in Vietnam? Many of the examples used to support the traditional view, including the exposure of the My Lai Massacre and a broadly published photograph of several Vietnamese children, one naked, fleeing a village mistakenly napalmed by the South Vietnamese, did not impact the next poll at all. Only two polls showed a significant change. The shock of media coverage forced Americans to view the war in a new way, and they did not like what they saw. The fact is that the news media shapes public opinion about current events in profound and unexpected ways. Or watch online at PBS.org. The intensity of the traditional narrative's anecdotal evidence, however, suggests another impact of the "television war," one that continues today. The polls fluctuated over the next year but showe… The new medium and the lack of government censorship granted the average person living in the U.S. unprecedented access to the Vietnam War. For summaries of poll data on public support of World War II and the Korean War, ... 8 For a full report on all questions and all marginal results, consult Public Opinion and the War in Vietnam (March 15, 1966, Institute of Political Studies, Stanford University, Stanford, California). War, Presidents and Public Opinion Paperback – April 30, 1985 by John E. Mueller (Author) › Visit ... John Mueller's classic study remains the best analysis of public responses to the Korean and Vietnam wars. 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