Draft, Politics, Social Issues, Spring 2016 Articles, War

Feeling a draft?


In response to recent changes which opened combat roles up to women, the Pack Poll decided to ask whether or not State students thought that women, like men, should be required to register with the Selective Service Act, also known as the draft.

Students received one of two versions of this question.  The first one was straightforward, asking if women should be required to register with the draft. A second version told students that that top military commanders thought that women should be required to register before asking their opinion.  Students who were asked the second version were more likely to express an opinion, but interestingly the ratio of those supporting versus opposing the draft for women didn’t change.

Men were more likely than women to support registering women for the draft. Depending on the version of the question, at least 20% more men viewed the draft for women favorably.  The loaded question affected women slightly more than men, possibly due to the fact that the loaded question also mentions that men are already required to enlist in the Selective Service Act.

Our results are in line with recent Rasmussen polling of all Americans. The main difference is that PackPoll respondents were more likely to say they didn’t have an  opinion; this may be due to the fact that our survey explicitly offered respondents the option to state “no opinion,” while most pollsters omit that option and “force” respondents to pick a side. In the Rasmussen poll, 49% of respondents favored requiring women to register with the draft, while 44% of respondents disagreed. Women, as we found at State, were more likely to disapprove (52% to 38%, with 10% undecided).

NOTE ON METHDOLOGY: This “Big Poll” took place March 13-15, 2016. The survey was administered over the internet to a random sample of 4,500 NCSU undergraduates, generating a 20% response rate for completed surveys. Sampling error is +/-3.3% for completed interviews and questions asked of the full sample; it is higher for sub-groups and questions asked of only portions of the full sample.

In addition to sampling error, other forms of error occur in surveys, such as confusion about question wording or the order of questions, but these are not precisely quantifiable. We did not apply post-stratification sample weights to adjust for possible demographic imbalances in our sample (primarily by gender), but weighting would only have minor effects on the results we report here (our sample is 51% male when men are 56% of the NCSU undergraduate student body).

Click here to see a PDF file for the full set of results: Spring2016BigPollToplines

Feel free to email us if you have any questions.


  1. It might have been interesting to also see if people think everybody should be required to register to serve as well.

  2. That would be a good question, and to my knowledge that question was actually asked in the Rasmutten article I referenced. This question will likely be asked regularly in order to track if opinions change over time, so it’s possible there will be follow up in the future.

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