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POLITICS: White House

Total backfire: New poll shows veterans are not happy with Obama's handling of the Bergdahl deal

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Military veterans say the White House's decision to trade five Taliban officers for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was the “wrong thing” to do, according to a new USA Today/Pew Research Center poll.

The survey, which was conducted on June 5-8, would indicate that the Obama administration's transparent attempt to win the military's favor in the midst of the Veterans Affairs scandal has backfired in a big way.

The poll shows that households with veterans disapprove of the Bergdahl deal 55 percent to 26 percent, while veterans themselves disapprove of the prisoner swap 68 percent to 16 percent.

Further, the survey finds that roughly 33 percent of veterans say they are “angry” about the deal, while only 6 percent say they sympathize with the Bergdahl, who was held in captivity for nearly five years.

"If he was a captured prisoner of war, we wouldn't be having this discussion," Joe Davis, the director of public affairs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said in the USA Today report. "He put his teammates in jeopardy, and you absolutely don't do that in a combat zone."

Of the 1,004 adults surveyed in the USA Today poll, 128 were veterans. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points overall and plus or minus 10 points for veterans.

The new survey comes on the heels of a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showing that most Americans agree that all efforts should be made to save U.S. soldiers, but that they disagree with the White House's handling of the Bergdahl affair.

The Reuters survey, which polled 958 Americans aged 18 or older and contains a sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, found that 44 percent of respondents said that the decision to trade five top-ranking Taliban officers for the 28-year-old sergeant was the wrong thing to do, while only 29 percent said it was the "right thing to do."

The Reuters poll also found that 66 percent of Americans think the Bergdahl trade sets “a dangerous precedent for kidnapping/hostage taking."

"We have a long history in this country of not negotiating with terrorists," Davis told USA Today. "And we just did."

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