What do the troops think about Trump?

What do the troops think about Trump?

by digby

They don't think as highly of him as they used to:

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.

During that same period, the number of neutral respondents has dwindled from almost 17 percent to about 13 percent, suggesting political polarization inside the military community has intensified in recent years.

Still, the latest survey shows that military service members are more supportive of the president than the American public at large, which, according to the most recent Gallup poll, approves of Trump at a rate of 43 percent compared to the 53 percent who disapprove.

“The general rule of thumb with the military is that it moves along with public opinion but lags conservative,” said Peter Feaver, a former adviser to former President George W. Bush who is now a political science professor at Duke University and an author of several books on military culture.

“In this case, we’re seeing military members shifting along with the public, but still staying a little more pro-Trump than the rest of the country.”

But even there we see the familiar polarization.
The new survey results also show sharp divides within the ranks. Enlisted men show Trump the most overwhelming support. Military women, meanwhile, have a much harsher view of Trump’s time in office. Officers still have a lower opinion of his presidency than enlisted troops.
Reflecting views in the broader American public, Trump’s support is higher in the military among men and enlisted troops, and significantly lower among women, minorities and officers.

A CNN poll released earlier this month put Trump’s disapproval rating among women at 62 percent. 

In the Military Times poll, that figure topped 68 percent, with only about 26 percent of military women expressing a favorable view of the president.

Among military men, Trump still enjoys a 47 percent favorable rating and a 38 percent disapproval mark.
Dissatisfaction with Trump among minorities in the ranks was less pronounced than the gender gap, but still significant. Only 29 percent have a favorable view of Trump, as opposed to 47 percent with an unfavorable view.

Since the December 2016 poll, the biggest shift among minorities has been into the “no opinion” viewpoint of his presidency. Two years ago, only about 15 percent of that group did not have a positive or negative view of Trump. In this poll, that figure rose to nearly 25 percent, drawing from both the favorable and unfavorable camps.

As has been the case in the past, the poll shows that officers are less enamored with Trump than enlisted troops. More than half have an unfavorable view of his presidency, against 41 percent who have a favorable view.

Still, that’s an improvement for Trump, who saw only a 31 percent favorable rating from officers in the poll one year ago.

Enlisted service members trend in the opposite direction. More have a positive opinion of the president (about 45 percent) than a negative view (about 41 percent), but those numbers are down from a 49 percent favorable, 34 percent unfavorable split two years ago.

In most categories, troops were more likely to fall into the “very favorable” or “very unfavorable” groups when asked about Trump’s presidency, suggesting the military may be even more polarized than the overall differences suggest.

The military isn't all that different from the rest of the country. But Trump hasn't done himself any favors by sending all those troops down to the border for a political stunt or refusing to visit the troops in the field even once during his presidency, which is just weird. Acting like an ass on Veteran's Day is never a good look although his followers seem determined to overlook all his flaws.

Still, it's interesting. I'm sure he believes the military is fully supportive --- and they are slightly more supportive than the general population. They're mostly Republicans after all. But they don't really love him all that much and the numbers are going the wrong way.