Foreign policy, military funding and plans for U.S. troops abroad are providing plenty of chewy campaign fodder for President Barack Obama and his GOP rival, Mitt Romney. But fundraising reports shed light on what the armed forces think about the the candidates.
Former Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul received significant support from the military for his strong stance on bringing troops home, and that briefly continued even after Romney pulled ahead as the clear GOP candidate.
Now, though, the military's support has shifted toward Obama. Romney has consistently received little financial backing from military donors.
Despite the fact that Paul once raised almost twice as much as Obama did from the military, the president has received $536,414 from military donors, compared to Paul's $399,274 and Romney's $287,435, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics. These numbers are based on donations greater than $200, as reported to theFederal Election Commission.
Below is a table of contributions from military and civilian employees of the military for the 2012 election cycle:
Contributing $176,121, the Department of Defense is Obama's biggest supporter, with theArmy not far behind with $165,646. The Navy sits in third at $86,656. In comparison, Romney's top military contributor is the Army with $87,218, followed by the Department of Defense with $71,043 in contributions.
However, although Obama's fundraising totals are higher than his opponent's, eight of the 11 military branches the Center for Responsive Politics analyzed have given more to Republican presidential candidates -- most notably the Navy, the Air Force and the Marine Corps.
The Obama advantage comes even though he said $500 billion in military spending would be cut as part of the sequestration process to help balance the budget, while Romney has alluded to a multi-trillion-dollar increase over the next decade.
Despite the president's $100,000-plus lead over Romney and Paul in funding from the armed forces, the numbers didn't turn in his favor until March when Obama began receiving donations doubling Paul's.
On a month-by-month basis, the latest fundraising numbers are from August, which show Obama with a $140,761 to $90,273 lead over Romney. Both candidates received most of their August funding from the Army, with Obama pulling in about $21,000 more.
Below is a table of contributions from military and civilian employees of the military for the month of August:
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Although Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) discussed national security and military funding during their debate last week, voters still are waiting for a more in-depth treatment of the issues from the presidential candidates. That may occur at tomorrow's second presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York.
Correction: This story was changed to accurately reflect that eight of the 11 military branches analyzed have given more to Republican presidential candidates, not Romney alone. Additionally, the sentence detailing which branches give the most money to Romney has been updated with correct numbers.