Poll of US Troops Reveals Surprising Frontrunners
'The outsider candidates’ messages are resonating with individuals in uniform'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2016 2:02 PM CDT
Donald Trump is surprisingly popular with active-duty military personnel, according to a new survey.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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(Newser) – An unscientific survey on the presidential preferences of 931 active-duty troops, reservists, and National Guard members found a surprising frontrunner among America's military: Donald Trump. Trump secured 27% support in the survey conducted by the Military Times. Equally surprising: Bernie Sanders took second place with 22%. The Times points out both Trump and Sanders have been criticized by their opponents for lacking foreign policy experience. And retired military leaders recently spoke out against Trump for arguing the US should torture terrorists and target their families, according to the Hill. Trump also famously bashed John McCain for being a prisoner of war, the Huffington Post adds. Three respondents did state they would leave the military if Trump is elected commander in chief.

The Times believes the results "show that the outsider candidates’ messages are resonating with individuals in uniform." Both Trump and Sanders have touted their opposition to the Iraq War. Sanders, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has been praised by veterans' groups and was endorsed by one of only two female veterans in the House. Trump is known for inviting veterans onstage at his rallies and has voiced support for the Wounded Warrior Project. Rounding out the top five in the Times survey—which was comprised of about two-thirds enlisted personnel and one-third officers—were Ted Cruz (17%), Hillary Clinton (11%), and Marco Rubio (9%).