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Is the Military a Bastion of Right Wingers?

- October 28, 2008

The conventional wisdom is that the military is overwhelmingly Republican. In fact, the Military Times last week showed that the armed services planned to vote for McCain over Obama by nearly 3-to-1. However, when Maj. Jason Dempsey started looking a little more closely at the respondents of the poll he found that they tended to be white, older, and more senior in rank.

Dempsey (not only is he a battalion operations officer at the Army’s 10th Mountain Division but has a PhD from Columbia University in political science) and Robert Shapiro conducted the first and only random sample survey of enlisted personnel, junior officers as well as their superiors. So what did they find? According to Dempsey:

The Army, it turns out, is hardly a bastion of right-wing thought. It is true that the upper echelons of the military tilt right. My own research confirmed that about two-thirds of majors and higher-ranking officers identify as conservative, as previous studies found. But that tilt becomes far less pronounced when you expand the pool of respondents. That is because only 32 percent of the Army’s enlisted soldiers consider themselves conservative, while 23 percent identify as liberal and the remaining 45 percent are self-described moderates. These numbers closely mirror the ideological predilections of the civilian population…The Army, it turns out, is hardly a bastion of right-wing thought.

Read the rest of the article in The New Republic.