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Political party affiliation has fallen sharply among those wearing the uniform today, a new Military Times survey shows.
An exclusive survey of some 1,800 active-duty troops shows the percentage of self-identified Republicans has decreased by one-third since 2004, from 60 percent to 41 percent, while the percentage of self-identified independents has nearly doubled to 32 percent during the same period.
These career-oriented officers and mid-grade and senior enlisted members are still far more conservative than liberal, but they are less likely today to identify with the GOP, the survey shows.
Much of the shift appears to have occurred only very recently, with the percentage of troops identifying themselves as Republican dropping nine percentage points from 2008 to 2009 and the percentage of those calling themselves independents increasing 10 points over the same period.
Respondents are also more pessimistic about the mission in Afghanistan, more optimistic about Iraq and virtually divided about President Obama's performance as commander in chief.
Complete results of the unique survey, now in its seventh year, appear in the current issue of Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times, available on newsstands now. Subscribers can log in by clicking on the links below.