Monday, May 28, 2012


A lot of attention is being directed to a Gallup poll showing Mitt Romney with a 24-point lead over Barack Obama among veterans. And while this is a bigger gap than Obama experienced in 2008, according to exit polls -- he lost them by 10 points, 54%-44%, running against an actual veteran -- this year's veterans aren't representative of the populace as a whole (overall, in the current Gallup poll, Obama and Romney are tied).

As Gallup noted in 2009, veterans are simply more Republican than non-veterans -- and if you check Gallup's numbers on this, you see that this becomes more and more the case among younger service personnel and veterans. In 2009, in the 18-24-year-old group, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 13 percentage points among non-veterans, while Republicans outnumbered Democrats by 18 percentage points among veterans and servicemembers. That's a huge gap.

Beyond that is the fact that, because of wars and the Cold War draft, a large percentage of America's elderly are veterans -- and older people are warier of Obama than any other age group is, as multiple polls have noted. It's a leap to ascribe older veterans' distrust of Obama to their veteran status -- many old people just don't like the guy. Is it because old people disproportionately watch Fox News? Is it racism? Is it health care? I think a lot of it is health care. Bill Clinton lost seniors when he pursued health care reform (and he'd done well among them in 1992, much better than Obama did in 2008). In any case, I don't think older veterans distrust Obama because they're veterans.


Victor said...

Look at that spike in vet's from ages 30 to 40!

Those are the ones with the most exposure to FOX News and Rush on Armed Forces TV and Radio - a dozen for the younger ones, and 20 for the ones close to 40.

The younger ones are not only more computer literate, but more into social networking, where there are more opportunities to mitigate the propaganda that they watch and hear.

Why the Obama Administration hasn't limited the military's exposure to this propaganda is a mystery to me?
I remember when Al Franken tried to get Air America on at all the bases and got limited support.

Soldiers and vets may tend to lean towards Republicans, but why lean when they hear the same things in surround-sound?

Ten Bears said...

I can't speak to older generations, nor the young. I can only speak to my experience: I voted in 1972, for Nixon, my Commander in Chief. In1973 I came home (such as it was) to a dishonorable discharge and some time in the "Bad Boy Hotel"... and said "fuck it, that was my vote so just fuck it." I didn't vote again until 2000.

Other than marching with AIM (American Indian Movement) on DC in '75, I didn't do anything "political" - unless you count spending much of the 80s in a school bus on the high cascade with guns and dogs and goats and children and a 3 year supply of dried goods and ammunition "political" - throughout that time. Said fuck it - started a family, rode m'harley, fought forest fires and anyone willin' to go at it, flew logs of the volcano and drank and drugged to excess. Didn't give a fuck. And I didn't vote. My vote, no matter how misplaced, was upon my voluntary enlistment in the Army in 1971. And the value of that vote was proven to me to be of less than exactly nothing in value.

I think today's polling, today's meme, is just catapulting the propaganda. There is no measure of what we think. All the moreso by pundit punks driving a corporate agenda. I know a lot of folks that were in the military, and they say and think all kinds of things. But I don't know one single combat vet - and I know a lot - who isn't against War.

I'm pretty disappointed in Obama, but I'll vote for him. Again. Old soldiers just need to fade away.

BH said...

In the middle-to-long term, what older vets think doesn't trouble me overmuch, because - like older non-vets such as myself - they won't be voting in many more elections (even though, short-term, it obviously matters since older people have a much higher turnout rate). The huge divergence in political leanings between younger vets & younger non-vets, though, is worth some hard study. One comparison I'd like to see (if the data's available) is how much of a divergence there was in that age group in, say, 1980 (so as to be post-draftee for the most part), and then to see how much, if any, change, and in what direction, there has been among that earlier group over time. That might better tell us whether veteran status indicates a lasting tendency (on average) towards the R's.

On an entirely different note: my local House member is a nonentity from Amarillo who got elected in Newt's '94 putsch & has been there ever since. His only real distinction is a resemblance to Pee Wee Herman which increases with age (if PWH wore Stetsons in election-year photo ops, that is). He votes pretty hard right, as you'd expect. However, he has an R primary opponent, a truly appalling & rabid brownshirt, who'll probably get nowhere; but one of her main selling points is her status as a retired servicemember. Combat? Well, no... it turns out she was a career veterinarian (!) in the Army (or possibly USAF), the daughter of a career Army quartermaster. It just goes to show, if you live long enough you continue to encounter amazing facts.