Troop Opposition To Trump Growing

Support has dipped a bit, but opposition is up and the gap has closed:

President Donald Trump’s approval rating among active-duty military personnel has slipped over the last two years, leaving today’s troops evenly split over whether they’re happy with the commander in chief’s job performance, according to the results of a new Military Times poll of active-duty service members.

About 44 percent of troops had a favorable view of Trump’s presidency, the poll showed, compared to 43 percent who disapproved.

The results from the survey, conducted over the course of September and October, suggest a gradual decline in troops’ support of Trump since he was elected in fall 2016, when a similar Military Times poll showed that 46 percent of troops approved of Trump compared to 37 percent who disapproved. That nine-point margin of support now appears gone.

“The troops are turning Democratic!” is a thing I’ve been hearing since 2004. Maybe it’s happening now, or maybe it’s just Trump.

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17 thoughts on “Troop Opposition To Trump Growing

  1. Ouch, that has sting. The article is published Oct 15. I have to image those numbers have shifted against him over the last two weeks.

    Using troops as an election gambit has incensed quite a few folks. Draw-downs happening before the caravan arrives gives up the game.

    Skipping Arlington and saying essentially that visiting a cemetery in France is good enough has others hopping mad.

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    • Except for the fact that he didn’t actually visit the cemetery in France, either. And whether it’s true or not, the perception is that Trump failed to appear at these ceremonies honoring the war dead because he thought it was going to be raining too hard.

      I don’t think I’m very far out on a limb to say that military people have zero respect for someone who lets unpleasant weather get in the way of doing their duty.

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      • Just bending over backwards to give Trump the credit he is due. Mainly because I have little nice to say and am still trying to be fair and be seen as fair.

        Actually, there there were two different cemetery visits in France. The first was cancelled and reasons given don’t make a lot of sense. He did show up at a visit to a second cemetery. It just didn’t make news because he managed to stay on script and because folks were already hyperventilating about skipping the earlier skip.

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      • Worth noting the approval ratings in the article are from mid October or earlier – so before both the post-election / pre-action withdrawal of the troops ostensibly deployed against a few thousand unarmed refugees, and skipping the Armistice Day service in France.

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  2. The ongoing VA debacle on GI Bill payments isn’t helping. People in the administration say that it will probably get worse before it gets better, and that they are not ready for the spring semester.

    This appears to be another case of the people writing the bills don’t think through the implementation. When I was a legislative staffer, one of the things we worked very hard to do with the members was make them aware of the time and costs that would be necessary to modify the systems to support the changes in eligibility, tracking, etc. One way to make yourself unpopular is to tell a committee, “With all due respect, Senators, you can’t start making payments on Sep 1, because the software changes won’t be done until Apr 1.”

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  3. It’s rather unlikely that the troops are suddenly leaning hard to the left, but rather that Trump is doing a fantastic job of pissing them off. Wanting a military parade like he’s some tin pot dictator or communist demagogue was the first strike against him (one things troops hate is being forced to march in a parade to satisfy an ego). He bought some goodwill by naming Mattis to SecDef, but going after McRaven was a mistake, and sending troops to the border as a political stunt wasn’t too smart either.

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  4. Da Troops are young, median age around 25-26 for active duty servicemembers, with few over the age of 50 and vanishingly few over the age of 60.

    But Da Troops have a lot fewer women (but not as much as it used to even 15 years ago*) than the US population as a whole, which skews expected demographic voting patterns the other way.

    Ethnic breakdown more or less mirrors the US population as a whole. African Americans used to be significantly overrepresented – but now the percentage is closer the overall population – though African American women are rather *overrepresented* compared to their civilian workforce numbers for a given age.

    The South is overrepresented, but that includes (see above) a non-trivial percentage of African American women in that representation, which mitigates that expected political bias.

    *in the early 2000s, for navy enlisted recruiting, the quota cap was 15% of all recruits could be women, based on the job availability at the time. that cap seems to have been lifted based on the chart in the link.

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  5. Can only speak as to my experience as an adjunct instructor on a USAF base for a couple of years during the Obama Administration.

    That experience was that all of the military personnel with whom I interacted, which included E-5’s through E-7’s and O-1’s through O-3’s, were formal and professional about political actors, in that they were all very well capable of setting aside their personal opinions and following legal orders.* And in discussion in class, it became fairly clear that there was a great diversity in political opinions, on a wide variety of issues. Seemed to me extrapolating from opinions voiced on various issues that partisan breakdown was roughly 50-50, although I did not ever ask for partisan identification explicitly.

    The military contractor employees who were in the classes were almost all obviously right of center. But our concern here is active-duty military, and my impression is that they were already close to evenly split before Trump was ever taken particularly seriously.

    I was teaching a graduate-level business ethics course most of the time, with occasional business law classes aimed at undergraduates.

    * They had little concern about whether the legality of an order might be ambiguous; a little probing revealed that they believed that if an illegal order came, it would be Very Obviously Illegal.

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  6. To the extent that people are political the senior NCO corps of the Army and Marine Corps are the most pro-Republican and pro Trump (but the latter is a subset of the former). The mid grade officers of the Navy and Air Force* are the least.

    *notwithstanding the reputation on the internet of the Air Force being filled with Christian Dominionists with a nexus at Colorado Springs.

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    • IIRC the Marine Corp is a spinoff from the Navy and the Air Force is a spinoff from the Army.

      While all the branches value and need and cultivate their well-educated officer corps, especially in command positions, I’ve seen USAF and Navy go out of their way to offer education to their people in a way I haven’t seen displayed by USMC and USArmy. It may therefore be no surprise that higher educational attainment roughly correlates with greater receptivity to Democratic messages. This is measurably true within the civilian population so why would it be different within the service?

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      • The USAF was spun off from the Army, but the Marines are still (and always will be) part of the Navy. USMC generals answer to Navy admirals.

        ETA ergo, Marines have the same educational opportunities as Naval officers (and from all the jarheads I’ve met in my time, they take advantage of those opportunities – no one advances far in the Navy or the Corps without having a decent measure of intelligence and education).

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        • Yeah, as far as I know, the career paths and thus educational opportunities for all officers across the 4 services more or less converge by the time of the O-5 rank (Lt Colonel / Commander) because everyone has essentially the same Joint service and ed requirements for further advancement, especially to General and Admiral)

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  7. This is fun. Short of it, Trump tweeted that if people on the Mexican boarder threw rocks at troops stationed there, they should treat the rock as a rifle and shoot back. Vets tweet back just how much of a war crime that is, and Trump should not be even suggesting that troops should commit war crimes.

    Now contrast that with this.

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  8. I don’t know if this is a nothingburger or not. The military does skew to the right, so the fact that Trump’s approval ratings among active duty personnel are dipping may indeed be a story, but I was active duty during the 90’s and I can remember the Secretary of the Air Force actually having to step in and remind us all that Clinton was the Commander In Chief, and as such, was due all respect from active duty military personnel.

    But then again–Clinton never did things to anger active duty military personnel like skip Veteran’s Day cemetery visits, court the idea of having the military put on a parade for him (there’s nothing we hated more than having to put on full service dress and get in formation, let me tell you), and deploy soldiers during a holiday in what was so blatantly a publicity stunt.

    I mean…maybe you could count Clinton’s cruise missile strikes against OBL and the entire deployment and occupation of the Balkans as military-involved publicity stunts, but I wouldn’t go that far.

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