From John Fund, I learn that President Obama’s support among members of the military has dropped to 15 percent, according to a survey taken by the Military Times newspaper. The Military Times conducts this survey of approximately 2,300 active-service members every year.
In 2009, Obama’s level of support was a none-too-robust 35 percent. It has fallen steadily since, and now is at less than half of the original level. Meanwhile, Obama’s disapproval rating has risen from 40 percent to 55 percent.
Why the plummeting approval rating? It’s not because of the elimination of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The Military Times’ surveys show that in 2009, 49 percent of troops felt gays, lesbians, and bisexuals should not be allowed to serve. In 2014, such disapproval is just 19 percent.
Nor is the explanation to be found in the decision to end the ban on women serving in combat units by 2016. The decision to open all combat roles to women isn’t popular. However, views about this haven’t changed much in recent years. Presumably, then, they don’t account for the 13 point plunge in Obama’s popularity since 2013, when the decision was announced.
The big change in circumstances since this time last year is, of course, the rise of ISIS. “Ending wars” did not make Obama popular with the military. And the consequences of ending U.S. involvement in Iraq, now that they are in plain view, have helped make him massively unpopular.
With the painfully hard-earned victories of our military under President Bush squandered, it’s not surprising that Obama’s approval rating is so low. What’s surprising is that his disapproval rating isn’t higher than 55 percent.
Given the microscopic approval rating, I suspect that the not-so-terrible disapproval rating is the product of respect for the office and, perhaps, the fact that around 25 percent of active-duty military members belong to minority groups.