“Our analysis suggests that Obama probably stands to gain from military endorsements more than Romney,” the authors write. “One reason might be long-standing Republican ‘issue ownership’ of foreign policy and national security during the past six decades.”
As for Romney, the authors wrote there was “some evidence” that the GOP challenger could benefit, along with Obama, from the support of one group of voters: “ ‘pure’ independents, those respondents who refuse to choose a party even when pressed to do so.”
Both the Obama and Romney campaigns have made veterans issue a major part of the race, and have actively reached out to veteran voters in military-heavy battleground states like Virginia.
The CNAS report also examined whether military endorsements, even by former officials, damage the perception of the military as a nonpartisan institution.
“Our survey provides, at most, limited support for the claim that endorsements politicize the military in the short term,” the study says. “However, it does provide some evidence that endorsements and politicization may undermine confidence in the military as an institution over the long term.”