QUANTICO, Va. -- One of the largest U.S. marine bases in the world is located in Quantico, a tidy town with scant election fanfare. Everyone who lives here just assumes Republicans have a lock on the military vote. And so when Obama signs began to appear, tongues began to wag.
"At first I was worried about how my neighbors would view it," said former marine corporal Dawn Jennings, 31, who bravely put an Obama sign in the center of her front yard. Jennings told OffTheBus that Quantico is the "kind of place where they'll ask you to remove an Obama bumper sticker from your car."
Barack Obama is promising to make college affordable for all Americans, and this appeals to Jennings. "I can't imagine telling my two kids, "No college for you, because I voted for McCain." She emailed all of her military friends, encouraging them to register two new voters. "It's time to take a stand," said the marine vet. "I want us to be like Michigan -- I'd love to see John McCain quit campaigning in Virginia, too."
Jennings isn't the only Obama supporter in Quantico -- not by a long shot -- and this should raise a red flag for the McCain camp. In hotly contested states with large military populations, these voters can make an impact because they turn out to vote in higher percentages (79/64) than the general public, according to a Rand study.
John McCain assumes he has the military vote -- but does he?
Military Voter Surveys Can Be Misleading
The Military Times recently released its annual survey of subscribers, which shows McCain-Palin enjoying a commanding lead over Obama-Biden (68/23 percent). But this is not a random sample, by any stretch of the imagination. Military Times subscribers are significantly older than the active military population. Nearly half of those surveyed are retirees, and minorities are under-represented.
"Everyone I talk to wants change but on base you can't say certain things. At a bar or a party, everyone tells me they're voting for Obama," said Thomas Singleton, 27, a former military telecommunications specialist who was speaking to OffTheBus outside the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Perched on a hill in Quantico, the museum's stunning roof line can be seen for miles. Its design -- a 200-foot tilted mast atop a huge glass atrium -- was inspired by the famous Iwo Jima flag raising of World War II.
"My military friends are tired of being lied to," said Singleton. "They're told to deploy for six months, but it ends up being a year. And when they come home, they can't find a job. One of my friends is staying in the Army only because he can't find a civilian job."
The genuine patriotism these young people feel is complicated by events in Iraq, and grumblings about military miscalculations. "I was proud to go to Iraq, but when I got there all we did for weeks was play cards. We were unprepared. We had the wrong supplies," said Skye Spann, 27, a former medical specialist. "It didn't seem like we had a clear mission."
Read the rest here to find out about deployed troops giving four times the money to Obama than to McSame
Of course, some of our "friends" on the "right" will begin bloviating that the personnel quoted are not representative. Blah blah blah ... if it makes you feel better, go ahead - but don't hold your breath waiting to be correct ... on second thought, maybe you should hold your breath.