Active military and veterans hold less favorable view of Obama’s performance as president

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Approval for Barack Obama’s job performance as president is lower among veterans and active US military than it is among non-military, according to a poll released Monday by Gallup.

The results, which came from data from Gallup’s daily tracking poll of Obama’s job approval, are based on interviews with over 238,000 respondents between January 2010 and April 2011.

On average, 48 percent of non-military personnel surveyed over that time period approved of the job Obama was doing, while just 37 percent of active military or veterans approved.

That trend persists among all age groups, the analysis found. The spread is most pronounced among 18 to 29 year olds, a group that tends to have a highly favorable view of this president’s performance. 58 percent of non-military in that age group approves of the job Obama is doing, but just 44 percent of veterans or active military felt that way.

The lowest spread is among those aged 80 to 99, where 43 percent of the general public approves of the job Obama is doing, compared to 37 percent of veterans or active military personnel – presumably mostly veterans in that age group.

Gallup notes that those currently serving active duty in the military have a noticeably higher likelihood of declining to state an opinion on Obama’s job performance. For instance, 21 percent of active duty military aged 18 to 29 did not express an opinion, compared to just 10 percent of non-military. A possible factor in this, Gallup Editor in Chief Frank Newport writes, is the military culture of nonpartisanship, especially when dealing with the Commander in Chief. Alternatively, “[t]hose on active duty may in general be less involved in current affairs and thus less likely to hold an opinion on Obama.”

Women are more likely to approve of Obama’s performance. However, in any given age group surveyed by Gallup, no more than 3 percent of military personnel or veterans were women. Older age groups are more likely to be active or former military – a fact that seems likely due to the existence of the draft before 1973.

Current or former members of the military are more likely to be Republicans, the poll notes.

The results come from analysis of polls conducted before President Obama ordered the successful killing of Osama Bin Laden. The president received a bump in his approval ratings from the general public after that, and it seems likely that the same would be true – potentially more so – among veterans or active military.