Donald Trump increases lead with US military personnel despite scandals

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question from retired Navy Rear Adm. Frank Gallo, foreground, during a Retired American Warriors PAC event in Herndon, Va., Oct. 3, 2016.  Stars and Stripes
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question from retired Navy Rear Adm. Frank Gallo, foreground, during a Retired American Warriors PAC event in Herndon, Va., Oct. 3, 2016. Stars and Stripes

Donald Trump increases lead with US military personnel despite scandals

by: Christopher Harress, Alabama Media Group (Tribune News Service) | .
Stripes Korea | .
published: October 21, 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has emerged as a clear favorite among serving U.S. troops despite a litany of campaign-damaging scandals that have hurt his popularity among the general population.

The New York real-estate developer polled at around 40 percent compared with just 20 percent for his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and 27 percent for third-party candidate Gary Johnson, according to an October poll conducted by the Military Times and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

While Trump has a commanding lead among military personnel, he is not as popular among officers or women, polling at 26.2 percent and 25.7 percent, respectively, compared to Clinton's 31.7 percent and 36.1 percent. Johnson polls at 23.4 percent with women and 31.3 percent among officers.

Of enlisted personnel, Trump polls at 43.3 percent while Johnson and Clinton are at 26.2 percent and 18.4 percent, respectively.

Among the general population, Trump's popularity has taken a hit in recent weeks as allegations of sexual assault and misogyny hurt his image and popularity among the electorate. A recording from a little over 10 years ago was leaked to the press in which Trump was heard making remarks about women that many left-leaning publications have described as sexual assault. Trump and his most ardent supporters have played the incident off as mere "locker room talk" among men.

"Everyone is so worried about what Donald Trump has said over a decade ago or about his tax returns over 20 years ago," said one male Marine corporal who responded to the survey and was quoted in a Military Times article. "No one seems to care that Hillary Clinton is directly responsible for leaking classified information.

"It's an embarrassment that she is on the verge of becoming president."

According to the study, 62 percent of those surveyed had a very negative opinion of Trump's scandals, but seem unlikely to change their ballot choice come November.

And around 83 percent of those polled said they are dissatisfied with Clinton as the Democratic Party's pick to be president, and more than 65 percent said the same of Trump as the Republican nominee.

Four percent of troops said they have abundant confidence that Clinton can lead the military as commander in chief. About 9 percent said the same for Trump.

"We are currently in a race to the bottom, and it is a sad thing to witness that this is the best leadership options that the nation can bring to the table," wrote one male Navy lieutenant who took part in the polling.

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