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Case Study

Assessing Community Support For Local Military Bases

Focus:

A collective of local and regional businesses and community leaders formed to support the region’s military bases, believing that the federal “powers that be” mistakenly thought southern Arizona communities weren’t supportive of their major military installations. They wanted a way to find out the true level of support.

Execution:

Intercept interviews and web-based surveys were conducted with residents of the area, with an added emphasis on a major Air Force base. Questions about levels of awareness and importance of the installations were posed, along with both positive and negative messages to evaluate overall support. Informational sources were also compiled to pinpoint where respondents learned about the military bases and formed opinions about their activities. Since noise was a key concern, StröngPOINT oversampled in the areas closest surrounding the Air Force and Air National Guard bases. Respondents were randomly selected, and opinions were gathered to create a full image of local opinions. A follow-up survey was conducted two years later to see if attitudes had changed.

Results:

  • Nine in 10 southern Arizonans supported the military operations and the vast majority recognized the benefits for economic vitality, national defense and community sense of pride.
  • There was almost no difference in levels of support among those living closest to the base.
  • The survey results were used in a press conference to kick off the newly formed “Southern Arizona Defense Alliance” (SADA) community coalition to support the region’s military installations. The survey results generated lead stories in the news media across the region.
  • The data was presented at the highest levels in Washington, D.C. and was well received.
  • The late U.S. Senator John McCain, Chair of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, was vocal in his support for the work SADA was doing.
  • The messaging and preferred communication channels that were ranked most effective in the survey results were used to educate the region about the importance of supporting the military installations.
  • Community support for the military across the area showed growth in the two-year follow-up survey.

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