Libertarian nominee top choice among veterans

Libertarian nominee top choice among veterans
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Libertarian presidential nominee Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonHillicon Valley: Social media struggles with new forms of misinformation | US, Russia decline to join pledge on fighting cybercrimes | Trump hits Comcast after antitrust complaint | Zuckerberg pressed to testify before global panel Ex-Facebook exec ousted from company sparked controversy with pro-Trump views: report Heinrich wins reelection to Senate in New Mexico 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 TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE came in second, at 30 percent, and Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonElise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 Russian pop star linked to Trump Tower meeting cancels US tour Graham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies 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) Sanders2020 Dems seize on MLK Day for campaign messaging Sanders knocks Trump in MLK Day speech Grassley to test GOP on lowering drug prices MORE (I-Vt.), third-party presidential candidate Evan McMullin, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis and Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeSchumer recruiting top-notch candidate for McCain Senate seat The Hill's Morning Report — Trump eyes wall money options as shutdown hits 21 days Poll: Sanders most popular senator, Flake least 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.