A new Gallup poll analysis released on Memorial Day shows that among veterans with a very clear preference in the presidential race, a majority supports Mitt Romney, corresponding with veterans’ Republican leanings.
Romney has 58 percent support among veterans, to Obama’s 34 percent. The data was collected from daily tracking polls between April 11 and May 24. During that same time frame, the two were tied overall at 46 percent among all registered voters; among non-veterans, Obama led with 48 percent to Romney’s 44 percent.
The Obama administration has has aggressively reached out to active and former military personnel. But the new numbers suggest winning over what has traditionally been a solidly Republican bloc might be a bridge too far.
The numbers are consistent with recent past performance. In the 2004 exit poll, George W. Bush carried voters who had served in the military, with 57 percent to John Kerry’s 41 percent, while Bush narrowly won the national election. In the 2008 exit poll, John McCain carried voters who had served in the military 54 percent to Barack Obama’s 44 percent, while Obama won the election by a wider margin than Bush had four years earlier.
Gallup’s Frank Newport writes:
Why veterans are so strong in their preference for the Republican presidential candidate is not clear. Previous Gallup analysis has suggested that two processes may be at work. Men who serve in the military may become socialized into a more conservative orientation to politics as a result of their service. Additionally, men who in the last decades have chosen to enlist in the military may have a more Republican orientation to begin with.