So it ends up being discussed on leftist networks like MSNBC more than it does on neocon organs like Fox News or in the WSJ, where ignoring it is the favored tactic. The working assumption among those who do confront it is that those who are on the ground actually doing the legwork for the nation-building efforts that define contemporary US foreign policy are the most strongly opposed to them. It serves as a pretty powerful endorsement of Paul's views.
But occupations aside, Paul's civilian base of support--conservative- and libertarian-leaning young men--is demographically similar to that of active US military personnel. So it's conceivable that this overlap, more than any specific affinity for Paul's non-interventionist foreign policy, explains his popularity among American soldiers.
The country's police forces are comprised of men and women cut from a similar cloth as its military personnel are, but in their day-to-day lives, police officers are presumably a lot more concerned about domestic policy issues and correspondingly less focused on foreign policy than their military brothers are.
Following this line of reasoning, I went to the FEC's website and downloaded the donor listing for all individuals who listed "police" as their employer or occupation through the end of 2011, and then backed out MPs from those listings. The proceeding table ranks all 2012 (current and former) presidential aspirants who have received campaign donations from those in police forces across the country by the amount of money each has taken in:
|1. Barack Obama||$26,836|
|2. Ron Paul||$10,896|
|3. Newt Gingrich||$3,760|
|4. Rick Perry||$3,120|
|5. Herman Cain||$3,067|
|6. Michelle Bachmann||$2,925|
|7. Mitt Romney||$2,137|
|8. Rick Santorum||$1,830|
|9. Tim Pawlenty||$250|
|10. Charles 'Buddy' Roemer||$165|
In contrast to military money, nearly two-thirds of which flows to the GOP candidates, police money is almost evenly split among Republicans and Democrats (Obama). Paul's police advantage over the rest of the GOP field is not as gargantuan as his $6-to-$1 military advantage is, but he still beats the next highest Republican recipient by a $3-to-$1 margin.
To the extent, then, that this crude attempt to tease out how much of Paul's support among the military is due to his non-interventionist foreign policy and how much is due to the general appeal of a less intrusive, less bureaucratic, and less powerful federal government to right-leaning young guys full of testosterone is useful, it suggests the answer resides somewhere in between.