Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney leads a new poll this week showing veterans would pick him over President Barack Obama.
And, unlike the 2008 presidential election, when Sen. John McCain won 54 percent of the veteran vote, neither Obama nor Romney is earning an edge based off of experience (or lack thereof) in the military.
The Gallup poll shows 58 percent of veterans prefer Romney, compared to 34 percent who support the president.
Nearly a quarter of the country's men are veterans, and their solid support of Romney has helped him secure an eight point lead over Obama among male voters.
"It turns out that the male skew for Romney is driven almost entirely by veterans," Gallup reports.
Among non-veterans, Obama takes a slight lead, earning 48 percent of the vote compared to Romney's 44 percent.
Joel Arends, the Director of the Veterans for a Strong America, says Romney's message is refreshing for veterans who are disappointed in the president's economic performance.
"Most vets understand that we need a strong economy to fuel our military as well as our veterans program," Arends says. "Most vets understand that we need to invest more in our veterans in a way that this administration is simply not doing."
Both Romney and Obama spent the weekend both honoring and courting veterans' vote by appearing at various Memorial Day Celebrations. The president spent Memorial Day crisscrossing the Washington Beltway spending the day at the White House with a breakfast for fallen soldiers' families, followed by a stop at Arlington National Cemetery where he laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Finally, the president made his way to the Vietnam War Memorial, where he thanked the veterans who served from 1955 to 1975.
Romney, who teamed up with McCain in San Diego, spoke with veterans about keeping the country's global military might intact.
"The fact that he is promoting a strong American military, one so strong that it won't be challenged," Arends says. "I think that is very appealing to veterans who believe when you go into fight a war, you do so with overwhelming force."
But Tom Tarantino, the Deputy Policy Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, says that veterans' views are sure to change as the election gets closer.
"When it comes time for voters, the things that everyone is going to see is claims are late, checks are coming in late, and it takes too long to get mental healthcare," Tarantino says. "This is still very early. The president has an opportunity to be very proactive in changing some of these policies still. If the Romney campaign wants to hold on to this lead, he needs to start talking about good solutions to these issues."
Gallup says it is unclear whether veterans are supporting Romney as a candidate because of his message or because he is a Republican.
"Men who serve in the military may become socialized into a more conservative orientation to politics as a result of their service," Gallup reports.
Arends dismisses that claim, arguing instead that Romney simply stands with veterans on issues that are important to the group.
"Vets are now voting with their feet. They are moving toward Gov. Romney," Arends says. "It is not just demographics. With vets you have a population of voters who are much more likely to vote. They are much more educated when compared against civilian population. They give candidates much more scrutiny. They are not just going to pull the lever for the Republican when they walk into the voting booth."
It is the first time since the 1940s that neither the Republican nor Democratic nominee for president has served in the U.S. military.