Barack Obama departs the White House with positive favorability ratings, but also a trail of disappointment over what he failed to accomplished during his two terms as presidents.
An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey conducted after the 2016 elections shows Obama with a 57 percent favorability rating, which is the same as Bill Clinton and far higher than George W. Bush when their second terms ended.
However, two-thirds of respondents say Obama didn’t deliver on his promises to unify the country and make progressive changes. According to the survey, even Obama supporters expressed frustration at the lack of progress on immigration, gun control and shutting down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Nearly eight out of 10 African-Americans view Obama’s presidency favorably, but they also voice frustration at the failure to improve the lot in life for blacks. Almost half said there was no difference and 6 percent said Obama made things worse.
Not surprisingly, partisan views of Obama and his presidential legacy are sharply divided. Nearly nine out of 10 Democrats view Obama favorably, while eight of 10 Republicans don’t. Independents are roughly divided.
Obama will reflect on his own legacy and point to the future he wants to see in his farewell speech tonight. He is likely to recall the economic hole he inherited upon taking office, the actions he was forced to take and the resulting drop in unemployment with 75 straight months of job growth. The AP-NORC poll shows just about 40 percent of respondents view themselves as better off after Obama’s eight years in office, 25 percent view themselves as worse off and a third say there hasn’t been much change.
One of Obama’s signature achievements, the Affordable Care Act, now faces a GOP-controlled Congress eager to repeal it, despite Obama’s pleas to fix what isn’t working instead of starting over. Other polling has shown that repeal of Obamacare may not be as popular as once thought and a nonpartisan study has projected that repeal without an adequate replacement could be a job-killer.