A new poll released as the Obama administration comes to an end reveals that the majority of U.S. troops have an unfavorable opinion of President Barack Obama’s eight years in office as commander-in-chief.
The Military Times/Institute for Veterans and Military Families poll discovered that just 36 percent of troops surveyed had a favorable opinion of Obama’s service.
In other words, servicemembers have a lot of bones to pick with the way the Obama administration has handled the military.
However, when broken down purely by minorities in the military, 57 percent approve of the job Obama’s done. Of the troops who voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, 90 percent thought Obama did a good job.
The first and most apparent complaint is the administration’s decision to decrease the number of military personnel. Out of troops polled, 71 percent think the figure should be higher. And that same desire for more military personnel also applies to combat arenas, where 59 percent think Obama made the United States less safe by decreasing the number of combat troops in Iraq.
And despite Obama’s long promise of a pivot to Asia, 64 percent think the president hasn’t done much to focus on China, which represents a significant threat to America.
Social change in the military, too, represents a significant point of conflict between troops and the commander-in-chief. Opening all combat roles to women has been an incredibly divisive move, and 30 percent think it hurt military readiness, as opposed to 15 percent who think it helped.
Repealing the ban on transgenders serving openly is even more stark: 41 percent believe the decision hurt military readiness, and 12 percent think it helped.
And yet, social change in the military has been one of the administration’s top priorities. In his outgoing memo, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter praised the progress of diversity and inclusion in the Pentagon.
Still, not everything about the administration was viewed in a negative light. The majority of troops, 60 percent, support the administration’s use of drones and special ops teams for more politically and strategically precarious operations.
The Trump administration is about to take over the White House with an approval rating from troops of 46 percent. A total of 37 percent say they have an unfavorable view of him.
The poll, conducted from Dec. 16-21, relied on a sample size of 1,664 active-duty troops. Of that total, 87 percent were male and 13 percent female. The average age was 30. For the question on Obama’s popularity, the margin of error was plus or minus 2 percentage points.
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