As we get set to officially recognize the service of veterans tomorrow, a new FDU PublicMind poll finds that the vast majority of all Americans believe the United States is shortchanging its veterans.

Members of the New Jersey National Guard during the Pass in Review in Sea Girt (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

The nationwide survey finds that nearly half (48 percent) believe the country is doing a poor job on veteran care, with another third (32 percent) who believe their treatment can be best described as fair.

"This means that a full 80 percent don't even think that the US offers good care when it comes to look after those who served," said Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind.

In a rare occurrence, the survey did show similar viewpoints from supporters of both political parties, with 78 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans given the US a less than stellar grade.

"Democrats and Republicans are pretty united on the question of how veterans are being taken care of, and the answer to that is not very good," Jenkins said.

The poor view of the government's care for veterans was consistent across all categories surveyed.

"Apparently you don't need to experience the disappointing nature of veteran care up close and personal in order to appreciate how disappointing it can be," said Jenkins.

Some other key findings:

  • Congress is viewed as most to blame for letting veterans down (42 percent)
  • Lack of mental health services (37 percent) and homelessness (22 percent) seen as most critical issues
  • Majority believe the responsibility remains with the government (56 percent)
  • Many believe the private sector (35 percent) would do a better job

Democrats and Republicans part ways on the question of government versus private sector support. More than two thirds (69 percent) of Democrats trust government to do the right thing, with over half of Republicans (55 percent) preferring the job of caring for veterans be outsourced to private companies.

"These new poll findings indicate the public thinks the government is merely paying lip service to its solemn vow to care for those who put themselves in harm's way," Jenkins said.

Currently, New Jersey has an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 veterans among its homeless population.