Obama is trailing Romney by a large margin in a key swing state constituency, Politico has reported in an article titled, "Veterans Retreat from President Obama."
The Obama campaign had been hoping that veterans and their families — especially among the post-Sept. 11 generation that served in Iraq and Afghanistan — would be part of their path to victory: They’re a high turn-out demographic and concentrated in battleground states, with nearly 1 million each in North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, and 1.6 million in Florida.
But recent polls make clear that the president’s campaign is losing the battle. Even as Obama leads in Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Virginia, Mitt Romney is up by double digits among veterans in those states. Nationwide, he’s got a commanding 20-percentage-point lead over Obama and has even overtaken the president with younger veterans.
Reuters declared the race between the two men "no contest."
Obama, who typically leads among younger voters, is even lagging Romney among younger veterans.
A Romney spokesman attributes the decline in support to looming defense cuts (which were championed by Obama in budget negotiations), Obama’s foreign policy positions, and a struggling economy that has hurt veterans returning to the workforce.
Legislative director for Veterans of Foreign Wars Ray Kelley expressed confusion at the discrepancy in support for the two candidates. He told Politico that while "President Obama has done great things for vets," Romney’s strong rhetoric is winning veterans over. "For some reason, that outweighs what the current administration has done a lot for veterans," he said.
Politico did not provide Kelley’s comments on veterans’ opinion of Obama as Commander in Chief of the armed forces.
The executive director of Ohio Veterans United, Harry Pretanski, told Politico that budget cuts to the defense budget are driving voters to Romney. "I’d rather have them put in place programs that are going to protect our military today than beat our breast and say we did a good job for them," he said. Ohio Veterans United has endorsed Romney.
Editor of SurveyUSA Jay Leve told Politico that Obama still has hope, since he is the sitting Commander in Chief. "Obama is the devil voters know," he said.