Poll: Obama Losing Ground Among Veterans
President Obama is hemorrhaging vet votes. That’s the takeaway from this story from Politco.com:
“The Obama campaign had been hoping that veterans and their families — especially among the post-Sept. 11 generation that served in Iraq and Afghanistan — would be part of their path to victory: They’re a high turn-out demographic and concentrated in battleground states, with nearly 1 million each in North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, and 1.6 million in Florida.”
Veterans have long tended strongly to pull the lever for the GOP – going back to Reagan at least. But according to Politico, the Obama campaign thought that they could draw younger veterans – those who are veterans of the Global War on Terror – into the Obama fold.
Romney is winning the veteran vote by 20 percent. Obama had held a lead with Afghanistan and Iraq vets last spring – before the GOP even had a candidate. But Romney has pulled ahead substantially: 48 percent to 34 percent.
Why has Obama lost so much ground among younger veterans so quickly?
Well, as hinted above, one issue is that Obama polled better against a generic GOP candidate with this crew than against Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. The previous polls were taken during the GOP primary, with the Republican candidates tearing each other apart in the press and in debates.
Once their negative ads on each other stop, and Republicans could rally around a candidate, more and more younger veterans began to accept Romney as a potential commander in chief.
Obama, on the other hand, is clearly struggling with the mission in Afghanistan. The formal Afghan surge ended ignominiously this week, just as Allied forces in Afghanistan are reeling from a spectacular insurgent attack that took out six Marine jets and a squadron commander. American forces have also abandoned joint patrolling with Afghan forces in the wake of a number of “green on blue” shootings.
As a result, the Administration is floundering without a strategy in Afghanistan. The Taliban has successfully short-circuited a key element of U.S. engagement there. Afghanistan veterans are going to weigh this much more heavily than arcane fights about pension reforms when very few vets will be receiving pensions anyway. (Career military has been pro-GOP for generations. Democrats have historically had more success with non-careerists and enlisted ranks).
Obama’s credibility is also damaged by a series of gaffes, reported last week, including his apparent inability to say “corpsman” correctly and the DNC convention blunder in which they had a number of key speakers appear in front of a dramatic photo backdrop of Russian ships.
Finally, the Administration’s debacle in Benghazi, in which an American consulate was overrun, an ambassador murdered, and the Administration resolutely denied that the attack was even premeditated for a week, is likely to weigh heavily on younger veterans’ minds. Many of them have themselves served in isolated compounds in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The Administration’s optics with that foreign policy disaster are atrocious.
Are you a veteran? Are you supporting Obama or Romney in this election? Which candidate do you think will do a better job with both foreign affairs and domestic issues?