15

Claim: “According to Gallup polls done throughout the 1960s, young and educated people (meaning college students) were far more likely to support the war than their old and educated fellow citizens. In fact, it was the over-50 crowd that opposed the war more than anyone.”

An image of people protesting the Vietnam war, with a caption stating that at the time of the war, young people were far more likely to support the war than older citizens

I couldn't find the Gallups polls from that time, but I found a web page that reproduces the poll and it says the poll was conducted every few months from 1965 to 1971 and that question used in that poll was:

In view of the developments since we entered the fighting in Vietnam, do you think the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to fight in Vietnam?

To me it seems that poll can't be very conclusive about telling if someone supports or not the Vietnam War.

So the question becomes, Are there other polls or evidence that would confirm or refute this claim?

  • 1
    Welcome to Skeptics! What are you hoping to see in an answer? It seems to me you have found the source of the claims. If you think the question asked ("was it a mistake?") doesn't reflect the claim ("should we continue?"), that's fair enough, but what more are you hoping for? – Oddthinking Mar 30 '14 at 0:46
  • I want to confirm or debunk the claim made in the picture, if it is possible. First to find out if the sources are valid, secondly if the results and methodology used for the poll are valid to draw the assumption of the picture. – S182 Mar 30 '14 at 0:59
  • Great, but haven't you already done that and found it wanting? What more is there to add? – Oddthinking Mar 30 '14 at 1:48
  • 4
    I just found one page, not official, with that information. I just wanted to know if there is another source to contrast the information. It is no big deal, it just called my attention considering how the 60s are often portrayed by the media so I wanted to confirm how accurate is that claim. If the only information available is the sourced webpage then claim hold no water, but maybe there is another source of information to bring new light about this. – S182 Mar 30 '14 at 8:38
  • I think this is a valid question. One, such as myself, could assume that war is protested at the highest levels by college students. Therefore, I look forward to evidence that either confirms or refutes such claims. – Garrett Fogerlie Apr 5 '14 at 0:38
4

There is additional data in the 1970 article The Polls: Is War a Mistake? The Public Opinion Quarterly Vol. 34, pp. 134-150.

This article confirms with different data than that linked in the OP that more people 50 and over considered US involvement in Vietnam a mistake than those 21-29.

However, when asked in a November 1969 Harris poll "In general, just as far as their objectives are concerned, do you sympathize with the goals of the people demonstrating, marching, and protesting against the war in Vietnam or do you disagree with their goals"?

52% under 35 agreed
36% 35-49 agreed
28% 50 and older agreed

So in summary older people disagreed more with US participation in the war, but also disagreed more with the objectives of war protestors.

  • 5
    Old people just are generally more ornery.... :) – user5341 Jul 9 '15 at 19:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .