Veterans side with Trump on military issues more often than the general population

Posted at 5:41 PM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-10 19:41:05-04

A majority of US veterans support President Donald Trump, his foreign policy and his usage of the military, outpacing support from the general public on the same issues, according to a new poll from Pew Research Center on Wednesday.

The largest majority of veterans approve of Trump sending troops to the US-Mexican border to deal with undocumented migrants coming into the country (58 percent of veterans, 48 percent overall). Veterans were also much more likely to approve of the US withdrawing from the Iran nuclear weapons agreement (53 percent of veterans, 40 percent overall).

The biggest gap between veterans and the overall US population was on banning transgender people from serving in the military. Only a third of the general public approved of the issue, compared to 52 percent of veterans — a 19 percentage point gap.

The only issue where a majority of veterans didn’t approve of a Trump associated military policy is the creation of a new branch of the military, the Space Force. Only 45 percent of veterans approved and 53 percent disapproved, compared to the general population, with 36 percent approval.

Republican veterans are less with Trump on the creation of Space Force than on other issues, but a majority still approve (65 percent). Democratic veterans don’t approve of any military policy tested.

Almost half of veterans said the policies of the Trump administration so far have made the US military stronger.

Veterans are also backing Trump in much higher numbers than the general population. Almost six in 10 veterans approved of the way Trump is handling his duties as commander in chief of the military, while 41 percent of the general population agreed.

Democratic veterans are very similar to the overall Democratic population — only 93 percent and 91 percent respectively disapprove of how Trump is handling his duties as commander in chief.

Republican veterans’ approval of Trump’s handling of the military is similar to overall Republicans, but their support is even stronger: 81 percent approval among Republicans overall compared to 92 percent among Republican veterans.

Veterans are more likely than the general public to think Trump respects the US’ military veterans — 30 percent of the overall population said he respects them a great deal, compared to almost half of veterans (48 percent).

More veterans trust Trump to make the right decisions about the use of military force (58 percent trust him a great deal or a fair amount, 42 percent overall) and the use of nuclear weapons (58 percent of veterans, 41 percent overall).

When it comes to making important national security decisions, the overall population thought that Trump doesn’t rely on military leaders enough, while veterans again approve of the President as half said he relies on them about the right amount.

Majorities of veterans stick with Trump on how he’s handling Russia (54 percent), North Korea (60 percent), and NATO allies (56 percent), while significantly less of the general population agree (39 percent for Russia, 44 percent for North Korea, and 42 percent for NATO allies).

Given the competing demands on the federal budget, slightly more veterans want the military budget to be increased (39 percent), compared to the general public (31 percent), but pluralities in both categories said it should stay about the same (43 percent of veterans, 45 percent overall).