Libertarian nominee top choice among veterans

Libertarian nominee top choice among veterans
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Libertarian presidential nominee Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonPotential GOP primary challenger: Trump's 'contempt for the American people' behind possible bid The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration Former Mass. governor takes step toward Trump primary challenge MORE is the top choice of respondents in the most recent polling of the military community.  

Johnson was preferred by 37 percent of respondents, which include active-duty, retired and former members of the military, as well as their family members. 

Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report MORE came in second, at 30 percent, and Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP lawmaker defends Chelsea Clinton after confrontation over New Zealand attacks Klobuchar: Race, gender should not be litmus tests for 2020 Dem nominee Kirsten Gillibrand officially announces White House run MORE came in third, at 24 percent.  

Johnson's strong showing in the latest poll comes despite controversy over the former New Mexico governor questioning what Aleppo was during an MSNBC interview on Sept. 8. 

"And what is Aleppo?" Johnson had asked in response to a question over what he would do about the war-torn Syrian city as president, shocking MSNBC hosts. 

Johnson then responded that he thought Aleppo was an acronym, and he thought the U.S. should cooperate with Russia in Syria to bring the civil war to a diplomatic end and not involve the U.S. militarily. He later said he had "blanked."

Former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersO'Rourke faces pressure from left on 'Medicare for all' O'Rourke says he won't use 'f-word' on campaign trail O'Rourke not planning, but not ruling out big fundraisers MORE (I-Vt.), third-party presidential candidate Evan McMullin, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis and Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcSally to back Trump on emergency declaration Flake: Biden 'strikes fear in a lot of Republicans' Press: Which way do Dems go in 2020? MORE (R-Ariz.) received write-in votes in the new poll. 

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The online poll of 1,399 people — released Monday by We Are The Mighty, Doctrine Man, Military OneClick and Got Your 6 — was conducted between Sept. 7 and Sept. 10 via SurveyMonkey. The poll has a margin of error of 3 percentage points. 

Johnson has garnered strong support from the military in previous surveys — taking 39 percent among active-duty respondents in a Doctrine Man poll conducted in July, and 13 percent in a Military Times poll earlier that month. 

In fact, polls in recent years say troops are becoming increasingly libertarian. 

A 2014 Military Times survey showed that the number of troops who identified themselves as Republican was dropping, while those identifying themselves as libertarian or independent was rising.

In 2012, the presidential campaign of then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a staunch libertarian, took in more than four times the donations from individual active-duty military voters and Pentagon employees than the three other Republican candidates combined, according to one report.

Johnson has pledged to balance the budget, cut military spending by 43 percent down to 2003 levels and reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal. 

Thousands of veterans had called for Johnson to appear at a recent forum hosted by MSNBC and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). 

Although Johnson did not appear at the forum, the IAVA has since reached out to his campaign and has promised to hold a separate event with Johnson.