Only two days after Bush addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Ohio, a new Quinnipiac University poll showed a big drop in Bush's support among veterans and military families in Pennsylvania. The poll also shows Kerry with a five-point overall lead, which is significant since the poll's margin of error is only 2.5 percent.
According to the poll, "Pennsylvania veterans and those in military families say they disapprove of the war in Iraq by a 13-point margin. While this group is traditionally more conservative than voters at large, Kerry has the support of 46 percent among this group to 42 percent for Bush."
Military households traditionally lean Republican. Bush would almost certainly have lost in 2000 had it not been for the military vote (Think Eglin Air Force Base in Florida), and Republican pollster Ed Goeas says in a July Washington Times article that members of the demographic "tend to vote Republican by a six-point margin."
While the Quinnipiac poll can't say definitively why military families are turning on the president, it does note a high correlation between decreased support for Bush and decreased support for the Iraq war.
"Military families and veterans oppose the war by 54 percent to 41 percent. Overall, Pennsylvania voters are more evenly divided on Iraq: 48 percent say going to war was the wrong thing to do, compared with 46 percent who support the president's decision.
"'In what may prove to be damaging news for the president, the anti-war attitude among voters from military households in Pennsylvania is greater than the attitude among all voters,' said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute."