- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 18, 2018

The sharp partisan divide in America has extended to the armed forces as the military becomes more politically polarized during the Donald Trump era, according to a recent survey of active-duty troops that found an even split in approval for the president.

The Military Times poll — which surveyed 829 active-duty troops across all branches of the military — found that 77 percent of service men and women believe the military has become more politically divided in recent years. About 30 percent said the military has become “significantly” more polarized, while 47 percent said it’s “somewhat” more divided.

Nowhere is that division more apparent than in the level of support for Mr. Trump. About 44 percent of troops say they approve of the president, while 43 percent say they disapprove; the number of troops who say they approve of Mr. Trump has ticked steadily downward since the 2016 election, the survey shows.

Inside the military, Mr. Trump faces the same gender gap he’s grappling with in the general electorate. Nearly 70 percent of women in the armed forces say they have an “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” view of the president, with only 26 percent reporting a “favorable” or “very favorable” view.

Among men, the numbers are far different. Just 38 percent report an unfavorable view and 47 percent view the president in a positive light.

Those views are likely to translate to the ballot box. Fifty-three percent of women say they intend to vote for Democrats in November, while 49 percent of men said they’ll vote Republican, according to the poll. Nearly two-thirds of troops say they intend to vote in the November midterm elections.

Despite their personal views on Mr. Trump, troops seem to favor the policies he’s pursued with respect to the military. More than 60 percent say the military is better off now than it was during former President Barack Obama’s tenure, the survey says.

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