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Obama Out-raises McCain 6-to-1 Among Deployed Service Members « The Washington Independent

The conventional wisdom has long held that Sen. John McCain has the support of those in the military, past and present. However, a new report from the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics, reveals that Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic nominee, has raised more money than McCain among service members stationed overseas, by a margin of six-to-one. Moveover, the Republican anti-war gadfly Rep. Ron Paul, who officially suspended his presidential campaign in June — raised four times as much money as McCain from this segment of the military. That’s not all. From the report:

Despite McCain’s status as a decorated veteran and a historically Republican bent among the military, members of the armed services overall — whether stationed overseas or at home — are also favoring Obama with their campaign contributions in 2008, by a $55,000 margin. Although 59 percent of federal contributions by military personnel has gone to Republicans this cycle, of money from the military to the presumed presidential nominees, 57 percent has gone to Obama.

With the latest campaign finance filings, detailing June fundraising, McCain has overtaken Paul among all military donors, though Paul still leads with contributors listing an overseas address. Financial support from military personnel for anti-war candidates Obama and Paul is a trend that the Center for Responsive Politics first observed last September.

Individuals in the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps have all leaned Republican this cycle, but the only branch in which that ideology has carried over to the presidential race is the Marine Corps, where McCain leads Obama by about $4,000. In each of the other branches — including the Navy, in which McCain served when he was taken prisoner during the Vietnam War — Obama leads by significant margins.

"That’s shocking. The academic debate is between some who say that junior enlisted ranks lean slightly Republican and some who say it’s about equal, but no one would point to six-to-one" in Democrats’ favor, said Aaron Belkin, a professor of political science at the University of California who studies the military. "That represents a tremendous shift from 2000, when the military vote almost certainly was decisive in Florida and elsewhere, and leaned heavily towards the Republicans."

In 2000, Republican George W. Bush outraised Democrat Al Gore among military personnel almost 2 to 1. In 2004, with the Iraq war underway, John Kerry closed the gap with President Bush, but Bush still raised $1.50 from the military for every $1 his Democratic opponent collected.

Image has not been found. URL: /files/washingtonindependent/obama-out-raises3/charts.jpg Should this be read as a sign that U.S. soldiers are maybe not as keen on staying in Iraq indefinitely as McCain and some of his Republican colleagues would have us believe?

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