Poll: Air Force Losing Ground With Public Army, Marines now ranked as more important By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Jun 21, 2011 1:41 PM CDT 7 comments Comments In this June 11 file photo, Marine Lance Cpl Blas Trevino gestures toward his troops as he holds onto a gunshot wound in his belly while running toward an Army medevac helicopter in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File) (Newser) – The public now considers the Army and Marines significantly more important than the Air Force, according to a new Gallup poll. That might not sound that earth-shattering, but it represents a major shift in public thinking, Politico observes. In May 2001, the Air Force was overwhelmingly the public’s favorite, with 42% rating it the most important branch, with the Army, Navy, and Marines polling in the mid-to-high teens. But with the Army and Marines doing the majority of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s changed. In 2004, the branches were nearly even, and now the Army and Marines have pulled decisively ahead, with 25% and 24% respectively, to the Air Force’s 17% and the Navy’s 11%. The poor Coast Guard got only 3%.