The most recent NBC News/Survey Monkey poll finds Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton among current and former military voters 55% to 36%.
“The poll was conducted online from August 29 through September 4 among 32,226 registered voters, including 3,358 who have previously served or are currently serving in the U.S. military,” NBC News reports.
NBC notes that neither candidate received stellar Commander-in-Chief ratings from military voters, although Trump fared much better than Clinton. Interestingly, he also enjoys considerably more confidence from military voters as Commander-in-Chief than he does from the general electorate.
Trump’s confidence rating as commander of America’s armed forces was 53%-47% among current and former military personnel, compared to 39%-59% from the general electorate.
Clinton scored 35%-64% with military voters, 46%-52% with the overall electorate.
Military voters also scored Trump higher on handling veterans’ issues, presumably with an eye toward the V.A. scandals during Barack Obama’s presidency. Trump enjoyed 53% support on the question of veterans’ issues from military voters, versus only 28% for Clinton, while they were virtually tied among the general electorate (40% Trump, 39% Clinton.)
NBC claims that Clinton “makes up ground against Trump, however, on the issue of nuclear weapons,” but that is not really what their poll says. Among military voters, Trump and Clinton are neck-and-neck on nuclear weapons – 34% Clinton, 33% Trump – with a rather large contingent saying it doesn’t trust either of them.
It is among all voters that Clinton scores about 20 points better on the nuclear question, with about the same 25% of respondents declaring it doesn’t trust either Clinton or Trump. As the poll internals show, the discrepancy is largely due to a much larger percentage of Republican voters declaring it doesn’t trust either Clinton or Trump, while Clinton gets thumbs-up from fully 84% of Democrats.
As a point of comparison, Military Times performed a survey of military personnel in May, and found Trump leading Clinton by 54% to 25%, which is not far from NBC’s results. Bernie Sanders actually fared much better against Trump in that poll, but was still behind, 51% to 38%. The poll found fully 21 percent of respondents saying they planned to abstain from voting.
Military Times noted that Trump’s support from veterans stretched back into the hot months of the primary season, as he was the most popular choice among the six Republicans still running when a previous survey was conducted in March.