WASHINGTON -- Most Americans do not want to see the return of the military draft, although men, older Americans, and Republicans were most likely to say it is a good idea, an Associated Press/ Ipsos poll indicated.
A majority of those polled also would not encourage their children to enlist -- underscoring the problems faced by the military as recruiting is in a slump.
The Army is falling behind its recruiting goals as the country is fighting extended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army has repeatedly missed its monthly recruiting goals this year, falling short by 42 percent in April.
All four branches of military service are having trouble attracting recruits to their reserve forces.
Despite the recruiting problems, seven in 10 Americans surveyed said they oppose reinstatement of the draft, and almost half of those polled strongly oppose that step, the poll indicated. About a quarter of the respondents said they favored reinstating the draft.
Men were more likely than women to favor reinstating the draft and those older than 50 were more likely to favor it than younger adults. Republicans were more likely than Democrats to support the idea. But a majority of each of those groups opposed the draft.
More than 1,700 members of the US military have died since the start of the Iraq war and thousands more have been wounded. General John Abizaid, the top US commander in the Middle East, told members of Congress on Thursday that the Iraqi insurgency is as active now as six months ago and foreign fighters continue to flow in.
The shortfalls in military recruiting have led to speculation that the government might be forced to reinstitute the draft. But Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has ruled it out, saying the all-volunteer force has proved the wisdom of ending the draft in 1973.
''There isn't a chance in the world that the draft will be brought back," Rumsfeld told a House hearing Thursday.
More than half of those polled said they would discourage a son from enlisting in the military, while two-thirds said they would discourage a daughter from joining.
The poll of 1,000 adults was conducted Monday to Wednesday for AP by Ipsos, an international polling firm, and has a margin of sampling error of three percentage points.