A new survey shows that a majority of U.S. service members has an “unfavorable” view of President Obama and his eight years in the White House.
The survey released Sunday by the Military Times and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families found 51.5 percent of service members have an unfavorable view of the Democratic president — 29.1 percent with a “very” unfavorable view and 22.4 percent with a “somewhat” unfavorable opinion.
Roughly 36 percent of the members from all four military branches had a favorable view, while 12 percent were “neutral,” based on the anonymous, online survey of 1,664 active-duty respondents from Dec. 16 to 21, 2016. The margin of error for the questions was within about 2 percentage points.
Obama’s supporters perceive him as a Nobel Peace Prize winner who hunted and killed 9-11 terrorist Osama bin Laden and a president who improved military strategy amid an uncooperative Congress and unprecedented budget restrictions, according to the Gannet-owned Military Times.
Among the concerns of critics was troop levels under Obama being cut to historically low levels and the president’s decision to withdraw combat troops from Iraq, essentially making America less safe.
In addition, more than 60 percent of the respondents thought Obama’s use of drones and Special Forces teams for precision strikes — instead of large-scale military operations — has helped U.S. national security, according to MilitaryTimes.com.
Obama disagrees with the argument that tighter budgets have ruined the services, according to the Military Times.
“Our Army, tested by years of combat, is the best-trained and best-equipped land force on the planet,” the publication quoted him last week as saying. “Our Navy is the largest and most lethal in the world. … Our Coast Guard is the finest in the world.”
James Jay Carafano, an international studies expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told the publication: “There’s no question this era will go down as the third ‘hollow’ army, and it’s the president’s fault. … For all his promises, the operations tempo hasn’t gone down as much as he hoped, and he has invested little in the military.”
Military officers had a higher opinion of Obama, compared to enlisted personnel, 44-to-35 percent.
And the Marine Corp collectively had the least favorable opinion, at 60 percent, compared to the Navy’s 46 percent, which was the highest among the four military branches, according to the survey.