Opinion: Obama’s job approval among the military is even worse than among civilians


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Some ominous political news for President Obama the day after he chose Memorial Day to name a new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

With just 15 months until the 2012 presidential election, Obama’s overall job approval among Americans has sunk back down into the 40s.


But now a new poll of nearly a quarter-million Americans finds the commander-in-chief’s job approval is even worse among members of the military, present and past.

A new Gallup poll finds that slightly more than a third of those military members (37%) approve of their commander’s overall job from January of last year through April 2011.

This compares to Obama’s 48% approval among nonmilitary Americans during the same period, Gallup reported.

The disapproval gap crosses all age groups. Men, especially veterans over 40, tend to disapprove of Obama more than women.

This would seem to indicate failure of this president’s major public relations effort to be seen supporting veterans’ affairs. On the Monday holiday the president did some business.

Obama announced he’d changed his mind about having Gen. Martin Dempsey (photo, right) as Army chief of staff. The veteran of two command cycles in Iraq had taken the top Army job less than two months ago.


Obama named him the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to replace Admiral Mike Mullen, who retires this fall. The president also visited Arlington National Cemetery for the traditional holiday wreath-laying and then got in some more golf.

The president, his new chairman and new secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, have some challenges to address. Although the emphasis in Iraq has been on drawdown, nearly 50,000 U.S. troops remain there.

In Afghanistan results have been mixed, despite Obama ordering two troop surges and putting Gen. David Petraeus in command. Petraeus, who has called Afghanistan progress ‘fragile,’ is returning to replace Panetta as head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Then there is Obama’s newest war in Libya, where allied air attacks have degraded Col. Kadafi’s military, but not sufficiently to tip the balance to the untrained rebels.

Polls now show a majority of Americans do not feel the nation’s longest war in Afghanistan has been worth the costs in money or lives.

Nearly 1,600 Americans have lost their lives there, including seven the other day in a single suicide bomb attack.

Last month a Gallup poll found only 41% of Americans approved of Obama’s overal job performance as president. That is the fourth time he has reached that level of approval, the lowest he has incurred since taking office on Jan. 20, 2009, when his approval was 69%.


Gallup poll on standing of Republican presidential candidates

Killing Osama bin Laden: Why did Obama’s poll boost sink so quickly?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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