Military supports McCain

No surprises here:

A poll by the Military Times newspaper group suggests that there is overwhelming support for John McCain among U.S. troops in every branch of the armed forces by a nearly 3-1 margin.

According to the poll, 68 percent of active-duty and retired servicemen and women support McCain, while 23 percent support Barack Obama. The numbers are nearly identical among officers and enlisted troops.

The Military Times, which publishes the Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times and Air Force Times, polled 80,000 subscribers from Sept 22 to Sept. 29. The non-scientific survey gathered 4,300 respondents — all of them registered and eligible to vote. . .

The Military Times offered certain caveats for its poll, which was open only to its 80,000 subscribers. Responses were entirely voluntary and were not focused on a representative sample of the public, as scientific polls are. The troops polled were also somewhat older than average enlisted servicemembers and included more officers than is representative of the military as a whole.

Yet judging by the numbers, it appears that the Democratic party has not made many inroads into the traditionally Republican military.

UPDATE: Yes, this is a non-scientific study. As far as I’m aware, there’s no way to do a scientific study of the military. So take it for what it’s worth. (I would note that the left has found Military Times polls credible when they favored them.)

Still, the result is consistent with my experience. Liberal servicemen tend to support Democrats, and conservative ones tend to support Republicans, but the military tends to attract or create conservatives much more than liberals. I’ve been out of the military for years, but I doubt that’s changed.

Also, the campaigns clearly recognize that servicemen vote Republican. Remember Florida 2000:

Both parties quickly recognized the importance to Mr. Bush of the uncounted overseas ballots, especially those from military installations. But the Democrats were preoccupied, particularly with their pursuit of manual recounts in several heavily Democratic counties. And their strategy for absentee ballots, which consisted of challenging as many overseas ballots as possible, backfired after they were accused of disenfranchising men and women in uniform.

It’s not for no reason that Democrats try to prevent the military from voting. We can’t be sure of the 68/23 figure, but you can be sure than McCain has more support than Obama.

UPDATE (10/27): That same article sheds a little bit of quantitative light on the question:

Applying widely varying standards from one county to the next, election officials threw out 1,527 ballots, according to an unofficial tally by The Associated Press, or 41 percent of the total, and the remaining ballots produced a net gain of 630 votes for Mr. Bush.

This gives us enough information to compute (with some algebra) the proportion of the late overseas vote that wasn’t thrown out as 64% Bush and 36% Gore.  Now this doesn’t precisely give us an estimate of the military voter nationwide.  However, there don’t seem to be any systematic factors that would bias this number towards Bush.  Florida voters closely mirrored voters nationwide in 2000, and the fact that the vote also includes expatriates would only shift the numbers toward Gore. So unless voting late correlates with voting Bush, which there’s no evidence for, we can guess that the 2000 military vote went at least 64/46 for Bush.  This suggests that a 68/23 figure today is plausible.

One Response to Military supports McCain

  1. notarealamerican says:

    Ha-ha-ha! This is fantatic! You promote a “non-scientific survey” over the real facts of overwhelming support for Obama by the military in the real world. Dream on right-wing nutjob, it’s your only hope — reality has a well-known liberal bias.

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