Current and former military personnel say Donald Trump would be the better commander-in-chief

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
September 30, 2020, 5:00 PM UTC

In the first face-to-face showdown between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, the debate topics spanned the  Supreme Court vacancy to the COVID-19 pandemic to the state of the economy. Throughout Tuesday night, both candidates also referred to military issues and argued over who has done — or who would do a better job — leading the United States Armed Forces.

A recent YouGov survey, conducted September 7-8, shows that 49% of Americans believe Joe Biden would be a better commander-in-chief for the US military while 36% choose Donald Trump as better for the role.

There is a sharp difference in opinion among those who currently serve or have served in the US military. Among Americans who have served in the US military, including the Reserves and National Guard, a bare majority give Donald Trump the edge as the candidate who would be the better commander-in-chief (52%). Slightly over two in five (43%) say Joe Biden would be better for the role.
Related: CBS/YouGov Poll: About half say Joe Biden won the first presidential debate 

How Joe Biden and Donald Trump compare on key debate topics 

Methodology:
The data is based on interviews of 36,669 US adults who were asked, “Which presidential candidate do you think would be a better commander-in-chief for the US military?” Response options: Donald Trump, Joe Biden, or don’t know. The survey was conducted on September 7–8, 2020.

The primary question above was cross-sectioned with another question that asked, "Which, if any, of the following describe you? (By US Military we mean all branches, including Reserves and the National Guard) Please select all that apply." The group labeled "US adults serving or who have served in the US military" is based on those who self-report "I am serving or have served in the US military".

There were 2,285 US adults in the cross-section of people who self-report serving or having served in the US military and also responded to the question about which candidate would be a better commander-in-chief. 

Image: Getty