Report: US troops abroad giving 6x more to Obama than McCain
Nick Juliano
Published: Thursday August 14, 2008

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A new analysis shows the vast majority of US troops serving abroad have donated to candidates running on strong anti-war platforms, with presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama out-raising his Republican opponent by a 6-to-1 margin.

The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics, analyzed donations from US troops in a report released Thursday.

According to an analysis of campaign contributions by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Democrat Barack Obama has received nearly six times as much money from troops deployed overseas at the time of their contributions than has Republican John McCain, and the fiercely anti-war Ron Paul, though he suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination months ago, has received more than four times McCain's haul.

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.

Only Marines are more likely to donate to McCain, according to the report, with Obama leading in fundraising from members of the Army, Air Force and Navy. The report found Obama raised about $60,600 from troops deployed abroad, compared to $45,500 for Paul and $10,600 for McCain; the Democratic candidate brought in more than $335,000 from all military personnel, compared to about $280,000 for the Republican.

"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, Aaron Belkin, a professor of political science at the University of California who studies the military, told the Center's Luke Rosiak. "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."

The military donations streaming to Obama, Rosiak reports, breaks a historical trend that saw Republicans lead among the enlisted ranks. According to the report, George W. Bush out-raised Al Gore by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in 2000 and brought in $1.50 from the military for every $1 raised by Democratic candidate John Kerry in 2004.