President Obama and Mitt Romney both honored Memorial Day today, as a new Gallup poll shows that Romney has the advantage among military veterans. A big advantage, too, at 58% to 34%, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Veterans are an important part of the Republican base; they voted for John McCain over Obama 54% to 44% in 2008, and there are large numbers of veterans in closely-watched states including Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. But the percentage of veterans in the US is dwindling: They currently make up 13% of the electorate, but as the older veterans die and that proportion decreases, the Democrats could ultimately get a boost.
Gallup suggests two reasons veterans may prefer the GOP: "Men who serve in the military may become socialized into a more conservative orientation to politics as a result of their service," writes the editor-in-chief. "Additionally, men who in the last decades have chosen to enlist in the military may have a more Republican orientation to begin with." Assuming Romney clinches the nomination, this will be the first presidential election since World War II in which neither the Republican nor the Democratic candidate is a veteran.