President Barack Obama will leave office on Jan. 20 with negative reviews from most members of the U.S. military.
More than half the troops in a new poll had an unfavorable opinion of Obama's leadership of the military for the past eight years, and about 36 percent said they approved of his performance as commander in chief, according to the latest survey by the Military Times and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.
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Nearly 49 percent of service members who voted in the November election cast their ballots for Republican Donald Trump, who was very critical of Obama, while 29 percent voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton, who was Obama's secretary of state.
Seventy-one percent said the military needs more personnel than authorized under Obama in conjunction with Congress. Fifty-nine percent said Obama's withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq has made America less safe, and 54 percent said moves to draw down U.S. forces from Afghanistan have made America less safe.
Forty-three percent said the United States should deploy more troops to combat zones compared with 32 percent who favored reductions in those forces, and 25 percent who said the current deployment figures are acceptable.
On the other hand, 69 percent supported Obama's advocacy of building strong alliances with other countries to project U.S. influence. Sixty-four percent backed the use of special forces instead of large-scale military operations to bolster U.S. national security, and 60 percent approved of Obama's use of drones.
The survey found that 29.1 percent of military personnel rated the president very unfavorably and 22.4 percent rated him somewhat unfavorably – 51.5 percent negative. Eighteen percent rated him very favorably and 18.4 percent somewhat favorably – 36.4 percent positive. About 12.1 percent were neutral.
About 60 percent of women and 57 percent of minorities in the military approved of the job performance of Obama, the first African-American president.
Obama's objectives have included reducing reliance on military force abroad and cutting back U.S. interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, promoting equality in the armed forces for women, and allowing gays to serve openly in the military. His supporters also point out that he ordered the raid that killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
Obama's critics say he wasn't aggressive enough in fighting international terrorists and stopping gains by U.S. enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he didn't support big boosts in the military budget.
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