Veterans and the 2008 Candidates

Gallup surveyed a random sample of adults (not screening for likely voters) and found a substantial difference in the attitudes of veterans and non-veterans toward the major 2008 presidential candidates:

Gallup Veterans and 2008 Presidential Candidates

It’s interesting that non-veteran Rudy Giuliani is viewed considerably more favorably than Vietnam War hero John McCain, the only veteran in the field. Other things jump out at me, too: Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with majority disapproval and veterans are far less likely to have “No Opinion” than their non-veteran counterparts.

The problem with univariate analysis such as this, however, is that it masks some rather important issues. Upon closer examination, we find that, “roughly 9 in 10 veterans in this sample are men.” And, of course, veterans are far more likely to lean Republican.

If we break it out by party identification, here’s what we see among the major candidates:

Gallup Veterans and 2008 Presidential Candidates Republicans

Gallup Veterans and 2008 Presidential Candidates Democrats

Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones concludes,

[V]eterans are not likely to be a key voting group in the Democratic nomination contest. However, they could very well tip the scales in the Republican primaries and caucuses to Giuliani or Thompson, assuming the latter officially enters the race. Veterans will likely rally around the Republican nominee in the general election phase of the campaign, particularly if Clinton is the Democratic nominee.

Well, yeah.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    For good or ill veterans are a decreasingly important voting bloc.

  2. yetanotherjohn says:

    So Rudy and Fred have strong approval ratios (those with opinions, 2/3 approve, 1/3 disapprove). Of course Rudy ~93% having some opinion, so not much movement likely there. Fred has lots of room for growth. Likewise McCain has a decent +12 approval, but is likewise well known. Clinton is well known and well disliked (-22 approval). Edwards and Romney are known and not especially popular.

    But as Dave points out, the vet vote is not likely to be a key demographic.