Biden Outranks Trump in Military Service Members Poll

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Image via AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, Pool, File

By Elle Meyers

August 31, 2020

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

A recent poll of active duty service members finds they have a preference for former vice president Joe Biden this November, as President Donald Trump’s approval continues to trend downward. 

The poll, conducted by the Military Times Polls and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, undercuts the president’s claims that he has strong support from members of the military. Trump has cited large defense budget increases and promises to bring troops home to back up his claims, but his military spending is similar to that of previous administrations. 

The poll, which was conducted before the political conventions in late July and early August, shows a steady drop in Trump’s approval rating from active members of the military over the last four years. 

The survey reached 1,018 active duty troops and just under 50% said they have an unfavorable view of the president. Only 38% had a favorable view. The poll’s results have a margin of error of about 2%. 

Only 37% of those surveyed said they plan to vote for Trump this November, while 41% said they plan to vote for Biden. Thirteen percent said they will vote for a third-party candidate and about 9% said they plan to not vote at all.

RELATED: Trump Claims He’s ‘Rebuilt’ the Military. Here Are Five Serious Ways He’s Hurt Military Members.

“It’s fair to say that Trump is not as popular as Republican nominees have been in the past among this group,” Peter Feaver said in an interview with The Military Times. Feaver was a White House adviser to former President George W. Bush who now works as a political science professor at Duke University.

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

There is a difference in opinions between officers and junior members of the military as well. According to the poll, more than 59% of officers said they have a poor view of the president, and more than half said they strongly disapprove. 

For enlisted respondents, Trump’s numbers and slightly better but overall still unfavorable. Forty-seven percent said they have an unfavorable opinion of the president, and about 39% said they have a favorable view. 

“The President claims he has been good for the military, that they’re grateful that he has rescued them from shambles,” Feaver said. “This shows that’s not the case with all of the military.” 


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