Poll: Obama Losing Ground Among Veterans

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

obama 01President 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?


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3 responses to “Poll: Obama Losing Ground Among Veterans”

  1. Dean Jones says:

    President knows less about world affairs than my 15 year old teenager. 
    His advisors is not much better qualified. I lived/worlked in Europe for 15 years with the U>S> Government, I cam can assure you I do not want to become a Socialist country, one moe term with Obama and we will be there.

  2. Clarence says:

    What do you expect for someone that is not an AMERICAN and doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.

  3. Bettie Fowler says:

    I am a veteran and I strongly support Obama. Why? Because he is 
    working for the 99%, not the 1%. The reson our congress hasn’t gotten anything done is because of the hundreds of Republicans and especially the Tea Party have block voted against every bill he has tried to put through. They planned to block him from before Obama was elected. And most of our Republican congress has signed a pledge with the rich to never raise Taxes no matter what is happening to our country. I have a list on the people who have made that pledge and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have made that pledge.

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