President Trump’s support among U.S. troops appears to be fading, with a new survey from Military Times showing that support for him has ebbed during the past two years while his disapproval rating has increased.
The survey of 829 respondents, conducted between Sept. 20 and Oct. 2, showed that the percentage approving of Trump has declined to 43.8% from 46.1% two years ago, while those disapproving rose to 43.1% from 37%.
Respondents who were neutral on Trump declined from 17% to 13%, “suggesting political polarization inside the military community has intensified in recent years,” the publication said. Military Times is owned Sightline Media, a private publisher with roots stretching back to 1940, when it was known as Army Times.
In comparison, President Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis received an 84% approval rating from respondents.
Female respondents, who made up 11% of the total, were more likely to disapprove of Trump, with 28% showing support and 69% disapproving. Among male respondents, 47% approved of Trump while 38% disapproved. Trump’s support was strongest in the Marine Corps and Navy, while those in the Air Force and Navy were more critical. Around 21% of respondents from the Army were neither favorable nor unfavorable, making it the most undecided branch of the armed forces.
Trump won praise in the survey for increasing spending on the military. Criticisms centered around his temperament. “To me, it seems like his presidency is a popularity contest for his ego,” a Navy petty officer told the Times.
“If he could tamp down on the Twitter a bit, that would be ideal,” a captain in the Marine Corps added.