Public Opinion Changes Under Obama

After eight years in office, public opinion towards President Obama and his administration has undergone a lot of changes. Citizens’ support on several issues has either increased, remained the same, or decreased during the mentioned period.

Reuben Fischer-Baum and Dhrumil Mehta from FiveThirtyEight analyzed public opinion on thirty-two big issues over the past eight years, based on poll results compiled from Roper, Polling Report, and other sources from 2009 to 2016.

Support towards ethical issues, such as the legality of abortion, same-sex marriage, use of marijuana and death penalty opposition increased during the eight-year time span. Support for same-sex marriage, for example, grew from almost 40% in 2009 to over 60% in 2016. According to the authors, these numbers are indicative of a more progressive nation.

In the foreign policy arena, however, it is possible to identify a growing dissatisfaction with President Obama. Approval rates of the president’s handling of terrorism, Iraq, Afghanistan and the general foreign policy of the country are at their lowest point since 2009. Public support around these issues changed constantly, but from 2011 onwards there has been a sharp decline.

Among the issues that did not register a large change during the last eight years were the Affordable Care Act, gun control regulation, and government size, which were all sources of great political conflict and debate during Obama’s two-term presidency.


Daniela Oliva

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