Takeaways From the 2019 Concerned Veterans for America Poll
In April of 2019, the Concerned Veterans for America conducted a national online survey of both veterans as well as military households. Concerned Veterans for America is an advocacy organization dedicated to supporting policies and freedoms that the veterans of the United States have risked their lives to defend.
The survey was taken by 800 military veterans and 800 military households. The responses to the questions were summarized in a report in order to bring attention to a cross-section of opinions and feedback from this population.
The data gathered from the Concerned Veterans for America is a way to have a clearer picture of the sentiments of veterans and their households. And while not every veteran in America was surveyed, this sample size is large enough to provide a glimpse into the general consensus of opinions held by a strong contingent of veterans and their families.
Additional data collected from the 2010 National Survey of Veterans on behalf of the Department of Veterans Affairs was also used in drawing conclusions for this article. The information gathered from the nearly 11,000 veterans, spouses, and families was used to help shape future plans of the VA to further assist veterans with their post-service needs.
Majority Rules: Trump Wins Veteran Approval
Of the 800 veterans surveyed in the Concerned Veterans for America poll, 56 percent gave answers indicating approval. Survey respondents were given the option of choosing Strongly approve/disapprove or Somewhat approve/disagree when answering each question on the poll.
31 percent of the 800 veterans and 24 percent of the military households polled responded that they strongly approved of the overall job President Trump is doing during his tenure in office. It should be noted, however, that the approval versus disapproval split among military households is set at 50-50, indicating a slightly larger number of those who showed disapproval on the poll.
Trump also won, by 56 percent, the approval of the surveyed veterans when it came to the concept of foreign policy. The military households surveyed also indicated approval, at a slightly smaller majority clocking in at 51 percent.
Some Military Engagement is Necessary
The veterans and military households surveyed in the Concerned Veterans for America poll were also asked about their opinions concerning foreign policy and military engagement overseas.
The general opinions of the survey respondents show that while there is an opportunity to pull troops back and engage less, there are still some situations that necessitate this presence.
For example, veterans responded with a 55 percent majority vote that the United States should maintain military presence in Syria, even though many experts claim that ISIS has been decimated.
On the other hand, however, 60 percent of the polled veterans supported the idea of full removal of troops from Afghanistan. This indicates that veterans wish to engage the military only when necessary. In comparison, slightly less than half of the veterans responded that they would support a total withdrawal of troops from Syria.
Veteran Affairs Health Care
Generally speaking, questions of opinion on the overall quality and approval rating of the Department of Veterans Affairs showed a strongly negative response. For example, 59 percent of veterans and 64 percent of military households surveyed rated their overall opinion of quality of services and benefits from the VA as poor or fair. As an additional support of this opinion, nearly half of both respondent groups responded to say that they felt the benefits veterans received were generally worse than those received by the majority of Americans.
For this reason, healthcare and military benefits will be a hot button topic that veterans will be watching closely in the 2020 presidential race. 77 percent of veterans and 70 percent of military households surveyed agreed that a reform of these benefits was absolutely or very necessary.
Department of Veteran Affairs Performs Poorly
One of the most broadly agreed upon topics of survey on the Concerned Veterans for America poll was that concerning the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Survey respondents were asked for their opinions concerning the quality of benefits provided as well as the accessibility of care provided by the VA.
While most of the survey respondents agreed that the quality of services provided by the VA is now at least no worse than the state of affairs five years ago, the majority of those surveyed also agreed that the care and benefits were not sufficient for their needs.
57 percent and 64 percent of veterans and military households, respectively, responded to say that the health care benefits provided by the VA were poor or fair.
77 percent of the surveyed veterans also showed strong support for the prioritization of policies supporting stronger healthcare for veterans.
To draw in some data from the 2010 NSV poll, many veterans surveyed actually admitted they did not even know about several benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Over 30 percent of the veterans and their families surveyed did not know about the VA’s home loan guaranty program, for example. Nearly 30 percent also did not have knowledge of the VA’s life insurance program, and only 30 percent reported having used the VA’s health services at some point.
These statistics from the surveys indicate two issues: a lack of education about the benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and also a lack of accessibility to these benefits. As a further example, President Trump signed an order in August of this year that would allow disabled veterans to have their student loan debts eased. However, nearly 25,000 veterans who are eligible for this benefit were unenrolled. Could this be due to a lack of proper education about the program? Potentially. All of this information points to an opportunity for the VA to invest more in visibility, awareness, and education about benefits. However, the user experience is also a component that must be looked at. Many veterans have lost faith in the VA to have the ability to properly assist them, so they will be less likely to see out the benefits they are entitled to.
The Concerned Veterans for America poll sheds light on the current opinions of veterans and their families and what is most important to them. Using the data gleaned from this survey, the Concerned Veterans for America group and others like it can find ways to support the policies and freedoms that matter the most to America’s military.
Concerned Veterans for America, one of the leading veterans advocacy groups in the United States, recently released its 2019 legislative priorities pertaining to America’s veterans. Here’s their plan for 2019.