In the last two elections, veterans have voted overwhelmingly for the Republican candidate. In 2008, John McCain took 54 per cent of the veteran vote, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 2004, President George W. Bush took 57 per cent in his re-election bid and amid fighting two wars. ABC noted the last two elections went Republican by 10- and 16-point margins, respectively.
So here’s a surprise: The veteran vote in the 2012 election is trending toward Barack Obama. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll found that Obama would beat Mitt Romney by as much as seven percentage points in November.
The picture, from Reuters:
In this election, veterans trend toward the norm of the remainder of the country.
The reason: Weariness from a decade of fighting two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. More and more veterans are going the direction of the Graftons, a couple that both served in the military. From the Reuters write up:
The Graftons’ votes, however, like many veterans’, can’t be taken as evidence of a hard-line military stance. Registered Republicans, they cast their ballots for Obama in 2008 because he promised to bring the troops home from Iraq.
“I went to war for George Bush,” said Grafton, 48, a retired Army master sergeant who served in special operations units in Somalia and Iraq. “But we can’t keep policing the world.”
Veterans are now split evenly as to what political party identifies with better serving their needs. But here’s where Romney can hit back on Obama’s improving record with veterans: They think the Republican Party has better approaches to the War on Terror, of dealing with Iran and of handling the economy.
They also believe the U.S. should not decrease military spending — 51 per cent at least “somewhat disagree.” Obama is proposing to cut nearly $500 billion off the defence budget over the next decade.
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