Libertarian nominee top choice among veterans

Libertarian nominee top choice among veterans
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Libertarian presidential nominee Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonAmash won't rule out Libertarian challenge to Trump Buzz grows Amash will challenge Trump as a Libertarian Potential GOP primary challenger: Trump's 'contempt for the American people' behind possible bid 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 TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE came in second, at 30 percent, and Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump thanks 'vicious young Socialist Congresswomen' for his poll numbers Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Democrats fret over Trump cash machine 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 SandersBernie SandersSanders to call on 2020 Democrats to reject money from drug, health insurance industries The hidden connection between immigration and health care: Our long-term care crisis Harris tops Biden in California 2020 poll MORE (I-Vt.), third-party presidential candidate Evan McMullin, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis and Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake urges Republicans to condemn 'vile and offensive' Trump tweets Flake responds to Trump, Jimmy Carter barbs: 'We need to stop trying to disqualify each other' Jeff Flake responds to Trump's 'greener pastures' dig on former GOP lawmakers 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.