Trump Support Higher Among Veterans, Pew Survey Finds

President Trump speaks with veterans during a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the American Normandy cemetery, Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Trump speaks with veterans during a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day at the American Normandy cemetery, Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON – The majority of veterans surveyed recently said they support President Donald Trump as leader of the armed forces, though some of them question his ability to make the right decision when using military force and nuclear weapons, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, D.C., based its results on an online survey of 1,284 military veterans. The survey results from the summer were compiled before the most recent tensions between the United States and Iran. In 2018, Trump pulled the United States out of a nuclear deal with Iran that has heightened tensions between the two nations and led to several incidents recently in the Persian Gulf region, including the downing of an unarmed U.S. drone. 

The purpose of the study was to gauge whether there is a difference in opinion between the veteran community and the general public on the performance and judgment of Trump, according to report. Overall, the survey results show veterans generally have a more favorable rating of Trump than the general public. The survey of veterans found 57% approve of Trump in his execution of duties as commander in chief. Almost half, or 48%, said they believe Trump administration policies have made the military stronger. That is more than the approximately 41% of the general public that approve of the Trump administration, according to the survey results. 

The majority of veterans surveyed said they trust Trump to make the correct decision about the use of military force and nuclear weapons. But approximately 40% said they do not, with 26% of them saying they do not trust Trump’s ability to make decisions about military force and nuclear weapons. About 36% of veterans surveyed said they trust Trump when it comes to the potential use nuclear weapons. However, 30% of veterans in the survey said they do not trust Trump to make the right decisions about the use of nuclear weapons.

Related: Post-9/11 Vets Bear More Mental, Physical Battle Scars than Prior Generations: Pew Study

More so, 45% of veterans said Trump is listening too little to his military leaders.

The survey also asked veterans to identify whether they had significant or traumatic emotional experiences while in combat. Less veterans who said they had these experiences, roughly 27%, trust Trump in making decisions about the use of military force and nuclear weapons than the ones who did not.

Opinions about Trump also varied based on generations. Veterans who served in uniform before 9/11, approximately 38%, are more likely to trust Trump regarding the use of nuclear weapons than veterans of the post-9/11 generation. Only 30% of the post-9/11 generation trust Trump’s judgment on nuclear weapons.

The Trump administration has been seen as largely supportive of troops and veterans. His administration’s policies have supported The Veterans Community Care Act, which allows eligible veterans greater access to medical care from private doctors. Trump also has pushed increased spending in the defense budget, including a military pay raise of 2.6%.

The margin of sampling error for the veteran respondents is plus or minus 3.9%.

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