As President Barack Obama gears up for his final speech as commander in chief, a new Military Times/Institute for Veterans and Military Families poll shows that the members of the armed forces aren’t the biggest fans of the outgoing Democrat.
According to the survey, 51.5 percent of the military members polled have a “very unfavorable” or “somewhat unfavorable” view of Obama’s eight years in the Oval Office. Only around 36 percent of respondents view the president’s tenure as “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable.”
Enlisted members were more likely to view Obama negatively, with 52.1 percent of members holding an unfavorable opinion. Officers, however, were more evenly split, with about 44 percent viewing Obama favorably and nearly 49 percent seeing him unfavorably.
Breaking it down by branch, the Marine Corps showed the most negative view of the president, with 60.3 percent of Marines seeing Obama unfavorably. The Navy was most supportive of Obama, with 43.4 percent expressing a favorable view of the commander in chief’s time in the White House and 45.9 percent expressing an unfavorable view.
Obama took the biggest hit when it came to the size of the military, with 71 percent of respondents saying they “strongly disapprove of the force-level cuts made during President Obama’s tenure.” According to a 2016 study, the Army has the lowest number of active-duty soldiers since 1940 as a result of a controversial Obama administration plan to shrink the force size by 40,000 troops.
Fifty-nine percent of troops believe decreasing military presence in Iraq made the U.S. less safe and 54 percent believe the military draw down in Afghanistan made the country less safe.
The president didn’t fair too well when it came to his military social policies, either.
While he did OK when it came to his decision to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (18 percent said it hurt, 24 percent said it helped), Obama didn’t perform as well when it came to female integration or transgender inclusion.
According to the poll, 30 percent of respondents said Obama’s push for gender integration in combat groups hurt the military, while half that said it helped. And 41 percent said the decision to allow transgendered people to serve openly in the military hurt the institution, while only 12 percent said it helped.
There were, however, a few high points for Obama. Forty-seven percent of respondents viewed Obama’s efforts regarding wounded warriors as effective and 46 percent saw his programs to help veterans find jobs as effective.
Obama also garnered support for a few of his strategic decisions. The poll determined that 69 percent of military members agreed with the president’s strategy to strengthen U.S. security by building foreign alliances, 60 percent agreed with his decision to utilize drones to decrease the number of boots on the ground and 64 percent agreed with his strategy to use special forces for targeted operations.
The Military Times/IVMF poll was conducted between Dec. 16-21 and surveyed 1,664 members of the military.