More US troops say they would vote for Biden than Trump as favourable views of the president fade among those serving in the military, new poll shows

Doug Mills-Pool/Getty ImagesU.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters while hosting Republican Congressional leaders and members of his cabinet in the Oval Office at the White House July 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump and his guests talked about a proposed new round of financial stimulus to help the economy during the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
  • More US service members said they would vote for former Vice President Joe Biden than President Donald Trump in a recent survey of more than one thousand active-duty US troops conducted by Military Times.
  • The survey also found that unfavourable views of the president are on the rise, jumping from 37% four years ago to 49.9% now.
  • The survey also found significant disagreements with the president among US troops over a variety of issues ranging from using active-duty military to quell civil unrest in American cities to the White House’s handling of reports that Russia paid militants to kill US troops in Afghanistan.
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More US service members prefer Democratic nominee Joe Biden to incumbent President Donald Trump, a new Military Times poll reveals.

A voluntary survey of 1,018 active-duty troops conducted by Military Times in partnership with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University between July 27 and August 10 found that 43.1% of respondents would vote for Biden while only 37.4% would vote for Trump. The margin of error was, for most of the survey questions, less than 2%.

For comparison, a 2016 Military Times poll of US service members showed that 40.5% said they would vote for Trump. Only 20.6% of respondents reported they would vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Trump has repeatedly referred to the armed forces as “my military” while referring to top officers as “my generals,” and he often boasts about all that he has done for the military, including soaring spending increases aimed at rebuilding a force ground down by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Still, the view of the president among active-duty US troops is increasingly unfavourable, found the Military Times poll released Monday..

Over the past four years, favourable views of Trump among US service members have dropped significantly from 46.1% in 2016 to 37.8% in the most recent survey, with unfavourable views of the president surging from 37% to 49.9%.

Many who were surveyed disagreed with some of the president’s actions and policies.

For example, while more than half of respondents supported calling in the National Guard to address civil unrest, 74% of the US service members that responded to the poll said that they opposed Trump’s proposals to use active-duty US military to quell unrest in American cities, something Trump’s own secretary of defence pushed back against.

In June, a number of former top US military leaders sharply criticised Trump’s militarised handling of the protests in response to concerns about police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd. The latest Military Times survey revealed more unfavourable views of Trump among officers than enlisted.

Looking at other important issues, the Military Times poll found that only 17% of those surveyed felt the Trump administration properly addressed reports suggesting that Russia had paid militants in Afghanistan bounties for targeting US troops, and more than half felt that troop levels in Germany, which the White House moved to cut, should be kept at the same level or increased.

Commenting on the survey results, Peter Feaver, a Duke University political science professor and a former White House adviser to President George W. Bush, told Military Times that the recent poll results “do not necessarily show that troops are beginning to think more like Democrats, but instead that they aren’t thinking like Trump Republicans.”

“The bottom line,” he said, “is that in 2020, Trump can’t be claiming to have overwhelming support in the military.”

Polls like the recent Military Times survey are representative of ony one moment in time and not necessarily the entire force. Views of the candidates within the military have the potential to change between now and the election.

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