Poll: War Vets Favor Bush Over Obama as Commander in Chief

Image: Poll: War Vets Favor Bush Over Obama as Commander in Chief

Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 06:02 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan much prefer former President George W. Bush to President Barack Obama as their commander in chief, a new poll released Wednesday shows.

In the Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll, just 32 percent of the vets approve of the job Obama is doing as president, and only 42 percent think Obama is a good commander in chief of the military, the survey found. Forty eight percent said he's not a good commander in chief.

But the survey showed 65 percent of the vets thought Bush had been a good commander in chief, compared with just 28 percent who said he wasn't.

The survey also found only 44 percent of veterans think the war in Iraq "was worth fighting" compared to 50 percent who do not. The poll found 53 percent believe the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting, while 41 percent don't.

The survey, taken from Aug. 1 to Dec. 15, 2013, has a margin of error of 4.7 percentage points.

The Post noted the survey suggests vets are more supportive of Obama's military leadership than they are of his presidency, noting veterans lean Republican and conservative. In the poll, 17 percent described themselves as Democrat, 27 percent said they were Republican, and 47 percent identified as independents.

A poll last year showed Bush's job approval has greatly improved since he left office, up more than 20 points from record low marks in 2008.

But former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, whose book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War," was critical of Obama, offered a different view in a January interview with CBS News.

"It's one thing to tell the troops that you support them," he said. "It's another to work at making them believe that you believe as president that their sacrifice is worth it, that the cause is just, that what they are doing was important for the country, and that they must succeed."

"President Bush did that with the troops when I was secretary [of defense]. I did not see President Obama do that," he said. "As I write in the book, it was this absence of passion, this absence of a conviction of the importance of success that disturbed me."

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