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About That "Deployed Troops Favor Obama" numbers...

A lot of people are talking about how Barack Obama has outraised John McCain in donations from US troops deployed overseas. Enough talk, indeed, to get me to actually look at the numbers from Open Secrets.

Here's a screen shot of their chart:


donations.jpg
(Click to embiggen)

(I tried to cut and paste their code for the chart, but couldn't get it to look halfway decent. I am So utterly hopeless when it comes to software.)

Let's take those numbers and play with them a little.

Minimum donation to be counted by Open Secrets: $200

Average donation to Obama: $455 and change.
Average donation to McCain: $410 and change

Total donations to Democrats: $63,882
Total donations to Republicans: $76,027

Average donation to Democrats: $456 and change
Average donation to Republicans: $500 and change

Total donations: 292
Total donations to Democrats: 140
Total donations to Republicans: 152
Total number of deployed troops donating to Obama and McCain: 160

Total number of Americn troops deployed abroad: about 370,000
Total number of deployed troops in Iraq: about 170,000
Total number of troops deployed in Afghanistan: about 20,000

Percentage of US troops deployed overseas donating at least $200 to presidential campaigns this year: 0.079%. Or, in simpler terms, less than one in ten thousand. Or, roughly, one in 12,500.

So yeah, Obama has outraised McCain from US troops stationed overseas, by overwhelming ratios in both number and amount. But the actual numbers are so damned small as to be statistically irrelevant.

And I think I kinda like that 99.9% of our troops aren't spending at least $200 on presidential campaigns.


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Comments (30)

I always sort of expected t... (Below threshold)

I always sort of expected that many military members in the volunteer army to be more conservative and support Republicans myself, although a few very poor persons and minorities who trend Democratic also join the military for opportunity reasons as well. I personally felt that any claim of military support Obama was greatly overblown from the actual numbers myself.

Interestingly, many Obama offices are set up in better off White neighborhoods where higher donations are likely to come in and the same donors can be tapped for cash until any campaign limits are reached. But I sure doubt many in the military are going to give large donations to either candidate compared to persons outside the military. My own neighborhood has it's share of millionaires or other families close to that sort of wealth, although Republicans are very scarce here with most households comprised of well to do liberals. There are mostly minority areas here in Portland, but the Obama Campaign knows that's where the votes are, but not the cash to fund the campaign and only sets up shop in the higher income White neighborhoods.

I have to wonder how the $2... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

I have to wonder how the $200 figure skews things. $200 is a high number for many enlisted, and for the junior officers (excepting the trust fund LTs, of which there are fewer and fewer).
Personally, I'll be more interested in the numbers after the conventions.

"although a few very poo... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

"although a few very poor persons and minorities who trend Democratic also join the military for opportunity reasons as well."

Like Pat Tillmann?

"A lot of people are talkin... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

"A lot of people are talking about how Barack Obama has outraised John McCain in donations from US troops deployed overseas"

My question is WHY!!!?? What the POINT!!??
So everyone can pretend that Barry Obama is pro military, and likewise the military loves Obama over a fellow veteran.
bwbahahaha YA... ooookay

Sorry I can't write more, I'm on my way to Harlem to raise some money for McCain that will show just how much more support that black Americans have for McCain over Obama...
pffftt LMAO...........

So when statistical data do... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

So when statistical data do not fit your preconceived talk-radio-based opinion of either candidate, Knightbrigade, you assume a flaw in the data, or the people polled/analyzed, and not your assumption? Are you really that ideologically blind as to openly admit to such a ****ed-up way of processing information?

Hyper - "Like Pat Tillm... (Below threshold)
marc:

Hyper - "Like Pat Tillmann?"

Can we assume you believe he was a "very poor person[s]" or a one of the "minorities?"

More hyper - "Are you really that ideologically blind as to openly admit to such a ****ed-up way of processing information?"

Based on your hijacking the other thread with this poll data can we also assume this statement is a self admission to the same.

If not, let me be the first to say... you demonstrate the same characteristic.

According to the chart, Ron... (Below threshold)
Herman:

According to the chart, Ron Paul's all alone in 2nd place. I've often wondered what attracts people to that Republican.

No, he was a wealthy NFL pl... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

No, he was a wealthy NFL player, used as a pretty strong counter-example to Paul's generalization of what most enlisted men and women are like.

I'm going to ignore the rest of your comment because that's what it warrants. Cheers, friendo.

When I was in the Marines f... (Below threshold)
A Stoner:

When I was in the Marines from 1988 to 1992 we were discouraged from making political statements and being involved in politics in general. This basically translates into a feeling that we whould also not donate money when it can become public knowledge that we did so.
I would guess then that a person in the military would have to be exceptionally motivated one way or another in order to decide to make a contribution to any candidate that would become public knowledge. That would likely be people who do not want to be in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Hyperbolist, I'd be the ver... (Below threshold)

Hyperbolist, I'd be the very first to recommend a pay and benefits upgrade for our military persons. I could care less how they spend it either, because they've really earned it.

I didn't get called up during the Vietnam war, but there have been many military men in my family representing every branch of the services including the marines, army, navy and air force since just the 1940's.

I guess I just took issue w... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

I guess I just took issue with what you seemed to be implying--that those who enlist for purely patriotic reasons tend to be Republicans, and those who do so in part due to economic necessity tend to be Democrats.

That might very well be true, but without evidence it's the sort of thing that reinforces right-wing stereotypes about Democrats and their attitudes towards national security--namely, that it's somebody else's problem, if anyone's.

Paul: "although a few very ... (Below threshold)
Bird:

Paul: "although a few very poor persons and minorities who trend Democratic also join the military for opportunity reasons as well."

Hyper: No, he was a wealthy NFL player, used as a pretty strong counter-example to Paul's generalization of what most enlisted men and women are like.

**How in the world did Paul generalize "most" by noting a "few"?

Jay, ever hear about figure... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Jay, ever hear about figures don't lie, but liars figure. How does anyone know that this is not another typical GOP slogan, you know like; family values (look at the corrupt GOP members), support the troops, (look at the voting record of the GOP on bills that would help the troops).

All I'm asking for is some truth, not some trumped up talking points. And Pat Tillmam started speaking out against the war. Was that why he was killed by friendly fire, or what? And why did the Bush controlled military lie about it when it happened, and continues to lie? I guess it depends on what each person wants to believe.

Instead of spouting talking points, why don't you start asking hard to answer questions, of both loser candidates running for the White House?

And Pat Tillmam start... (Below threshold)

And Pat Tillmam started speaking out against the war. Was that why he was killed by friendly fire, or what?

Instead of insinuations, why not make a statement and defend it.

Here's a hard question, Allen: Do the general officers and enlisted personnel support Obama or McCain? Jay looked for some research and posted such. You should do the same, particularly if you are going to say such here. Also, if you're going to imply that Pat Tillman was fragged, give us some sources, along with some links as to when he "started speaking out against the war".

Ref #14. I honestly don't k... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Ref #14. I honestly don't know, nor do you or anyone else know, who the average GI supports, as they are not allowed to talk about politics.

Pat Tillman was not fragged, he was shot by friendly fire, and of this date, the military will not answer questions his family has.

When a person is fragged, that means a grenade, but I'm sure you don't know the difference between getting killed by friendly fire, or your so-called buddy throws a grenade in your hooch.

But forgetting the BS, why won't the military tell his family really what happened? What is being covered up that the military cannot tell his family what really happend

You want a reference, why don't you call Pat Tillman's mother and see what she has to say? That is if you really want to know, instead of spouting off about GOP BS!

When a person is frag... (Below threshold)

When a person is fragged, that means a grenade, but I'm sure you don't know the difference between getting killed by friendly fire, or your so-called buddy throws a grenade in your hooch.

That's right. I stand corrected... on the method of being killed by friendly fire.

What is being covered up that the military cannot tell his family what really happend

You brought it up, Allen. Go find out the reason, and report back. Or was this a strawman argument to distract readers from the topic? I won't be calling Pat Tillman's grieving family, but since you suggested it, Allen, have at it.

Jay, ever hear about figures don't lie, but liars figure.

You've offered nothing to believe here, Allen...but lots of slogans. In fact, you admit that you honestly don't know anything about the topic. Whereas the author has provided some data that you can only rebut with sloganeering...a suggestion; get a clue and an argument, then show up here with a point.

My experience, both as a ju... (Below threshold)

My experience, both as a junior soldier and as a recruiter was that a heck of a lot of enlistees tend toward liberalism. Maybe not a majority, but a heck of a lot. But the left makes such a poor job of appealing to them, they drift right. Again, not all, but a good number.

Here's a bunch of folks that become a part of something larger than themselves and work as part of a community to make the world a better place. They tend to be colorblind. They don't talk about doing something, they do it. That's pretty idealistic, and should be right up the progressives alley, but the left can't help themselves and pretty soon, the slur "babykiller" passes their lips. Dumb.

"The left" = Code Pink, Bra... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

"The left" = Code Pink, Brad? Or "the left as caricaturized on blogs such as this one"?

Hey Hyperwipe-- My c... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

Hey Hyperwipe--
My comments were based on reality. I don't listen to talk radio or MSM.
Spinning poll data in ANY direction doesn't mean a thing. Poll data is just a small fragment not the 100% sure thing.

Common sense should prevail. Does it make sense that the majority of active military would favor a anti- military liberal Democrat over a Veteran Republican?

Do you also think it's possible for McCain to have the majority of black voters support him over B. Obama...

Demographics.....does mean something...
And guess what, last time I looked military people were a demographic.

You may disagree, but lets not drift off to pretend land.
And lets make especially sure not to be a pompous jerkoff when doing so.

ok only mil votes count gue... (Below threshold)
rick:

ok only mil votes count guess who wins? I as a right wing gop voting, vote for the devil him self b4 I would ever vote for a dem..am willing to let just the mil guys and gals vote for commander and chief...ok with u dems u on board ...say hail th John Mc

As the spouse of a military... (Below threshold)

As the spouse of a military retiree who gets medical care at an MTF, I've lately spent a lot of time in the company of military people. I also have a son in an AF National Guard and a son-in-law currently in Iraq.

I can tell you that I've never heard a political discussion in public areas of the base. Never. Fox or CNN are on most of the televisions in the waiting rooms and even that doesn't trigger a discussion, though non-political news items often do.

But at home among family, believe me military members have political opinions. I'm quite sure they back it up with donations. If the member doesn't want to be "identified" then a spouse or other relative can make the donation for them.

It's silly to assume that t... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

It's silly to assume that the military is more pro-Anyone by these data. some are talking about the military as a demographic here and tries to imply that it's indicative of who they'll largely support based on donations. What we don't have here is a breakdown of the demographics within the larger one. What is the ratio of race? Sex? Status? etc ...

Obama has out-raised McCain in just about every regard nation-wide, yet, he still runs neck and neck with McCain in regards to actual intent to vote.

What matters is who they actually intend to vote for.

When the Bankruptcy Bill wa... (Below threshold)
toyboat:

When the Bankruptcy Bill was debated in 2005, the Democrats tried to put in an exemption for military personnel, and the Republicans voted it down. "One of the most common cases I see as a legal assistance attorney in the Army," writes a JAG soldier/lawyer, "is a soldier in debt." We pay them shit and give them no breaks, so I'm not surprised that the troops don't have a lot of scratch left over for campaign finance, but I am surprised to hear Tea admit that he's happy about it.

So the Democrats should not... (Below threshold)
Razorgirl:

So the Democrats should not have a problem with our military being able to cast their votes, right? Don't hold your breath.

toyboat:Its a litt... (Below threshold)
epador:

toyboat:

Its a little more complex than that. Bankruptcy problems in active duty service members has more to do with folks over-extending themselves, sometimes at the hands of predatory lenders. Financial responsibility is each AD member's responsibility, and when they screw up (young and not so young folks getting a little heady with large enlistment/re-enlistment bonuses, folks buying a house beyond their means hoping for a quick turn around in 2 years when reassigned then getting a slam from a housing downturn, etc.) should we enable them and encourage continued poor choices and lack of accountability just because they are AD?

But back on topic:

The numbers show very low contributions for either side, which make cash contributions a poor measure of voter support for either candidate. That one would attempt to spin that the numbers represent anything significant is not surprising, and is worth calling the candidate out on.

99.9% aren't spending on po... (Below threshold)
Matt:

99.9% aren't spending on political campaigns because they have much better things to spend their money on. Things like taking care of their families, education, charities, etc.

So yeah, Obama has outra... (Below threshold)
mantis:

So yeah, Obama has outraised McCain from US troops stationed overseas, by overwhelming ratios in both number and amount. But the actual numbers are so damned small as to be statistically irrelevant.

The numbers are very relevant if you want to know to whom those donating money are giving. They are not statistically significant if you want to gauge overall military support.

And I think I kinda like that 99.9% of our troops aren't spending at least $200 on presidential campaigns.

Do you like it because you think troops aren't interested in spending their money on politics, or because you think they can't afford to?

Presumably he likes it base... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Presumably he likes it based on the prevailing assumption that when it comes to politics, troops are above the fray, which is a way of candy-coating the maxim that soldiers ought to do what they're told and not worry about why they're doing it or what is motivating the deliberations of those people to whom they must answer.

"Do you like it because ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Do you like it because you think troops aren't interested in spending their money on politics, or because you think they can't afford to?"

I'd like to think it's because they're people who think their vote counts more than their money. I can afford to spend money on politics, but I don't out of principle.

"Presumably he likes it based on the prevailing assumption that when it comes to politics, troops are above the fray,..."

You should have stopped there, because everything after that is snide invective. There's a reason for prevailing order and obedience in our military and it's not as you make it sound.

What bothers me about Obama... (Below threshold)
tahjr:

What bothers me about Obama, though I lean toward him, is his personal early history: Where was he born and why won't he produce a birth certificate? Are there any early church or gamily bible records of his very early life? Neither he, his campaign, nor his family have produced any records, only personal recollections.

It is a serious matter, at least to me.

tahjr




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