According to Gallup, American veterans, after recent addresses by both McCain and Obama to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, registered voting veterans are more solidly in support of McCain than his prospective Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, and the margin of separation between the candidates is telling.
With both presidential candidates addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention this week (John McCain on Monday and Barack Obama on Tuesday), Gallup finds that registered voters who have served in the U.S. military solidly back McCain over Obama, 56% to 34%.
This is based on aggregated data from Aug. 5-17 Gallup Poll Daily tracking, involving interviews with more than 11,000 registered voters, including 2,238 military veterans. Veterans are defined as those who are or have been members of the U.S. military. Obama leads McCain 46% to 43% among all registered voters during this time.
A 22% difference between McCain and Obama among polled veterans, and only a 3% lead by Obama nationally according to Gallup, which is a slip in the polls for Obama since his initial emergence as the likely nominee of the Democratic party.
Perhaps it is telling that veterans prefer McCain, a fellow veteran, to become the next Commander-in-Chief of the United States armed forces, over Obama, who has no military experience whatsoever. Leadership experience, especially actual combat leadership experience, is critical to understanding and analyzing information in times of crisis; this is experience that McCain has and Obama does not.
Still, there does seem to be a trend among veterans to vote Republican rather than Democrat, as shown in the final Gallup Poll results of the 2004 elections, in which President Bush lead opponent Senator John Kerry 55% to 39%. Nationally, veterans tend to be more along the lines of 47% Republican, 39% Democrat, as compared to the rest of the nation, which according to Gallup tends to run 48% Democrat to 37% Republican.
With the veteran vote secured, the uncommitted voters are the essential battleground for McCain and Obama. With a slipping lead that is now down to 3 points over McCain, Obama may very well be discovering how having a retired veteran fighter pilot on his tail is not a to his advantage.