A new Gallup poll shows Mitt Romney leading President Obama by 24 points among military veterans, essentially accounting for Obama's 'gender gap' among men. But as the number of vets declines, the GOP's advantage here may dwindle.
Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has a big lead over incumbent Barack Obama among vets – 58 percent to 34 percent, according to a new Gallup survey. In essence, they’re the reason President Obama faces any “gender gap” among men. Among nonveteran men, Gallup finds, Obama has a four-point edge, and they’re essentially tied (46 percent to 46 percent) among all registered voters.
It’s an important group. Veterans make up 13 percent of the electorate (24 percent of all adult men). And although a dwindling percentage of Americans have served in the armed forces since the end of the draft in 1973, they’re an important part of the GOP’s base. In 2008, Sen. John McCain beat Obama among veterans by 54 percent to 44 percent.
During his time in office, Obama, as commander in chief, has made a strong effort to show support of the troops – both active-duty forces and especially those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and now face struggles with war injuries (including post-traumatic stress disorder) as well as a struggling economy that makes it difficult for some to find civilian work.
"We have to serve them and their families as well as they have served us," Obama said in his weekend radio address. "By making sure that they get the health care and benefits they need; by caring for our wounded warriors and supporting our military families; and by giving veterans the chance to go to college, find a good job, and enjoy the freedom that they risked everything to protect."
Why veterans are so strong in their preference for the Republican presidential candidate is not entirely clear, Gallup concedes.