President Barack Obama is blaming racism for his low approval rating among white voters. According to a Gallup Poll conducted January 14 through 16, Obama’s approval rating has slipped to 39 percent. A majority of those polled said they are dissatisfied with the nation’s president. The poll included voters of all races.
In a recent interview with New Yorker magazine, Obama said racism may have negatively impacted his approval rating:
“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President.”
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer disagrees. The spokesman said the approval ratings are directly related to several controversial policies, including the Affordable Care Act. Spicer said the president’s approval rating has steadily declined with the introduction of “Obamacare and other job-killing policies.”
Stephen Hess, with the Bookings Institution, agrees with Spicer. He points out that an overwhelming majority of voters elected President Barack Obama. Hess said the president’s approval rating began to decline amid the introduction of the Affordable Care Act.
Although they appear to be separate issues, Obama suggests politics and racism may have a strong historical connection:
“There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues… You can be somebody who… worries about the power of the federal government… that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun.”
Obama certainly received more votes than Republican candidate Mitt Romney. However, exit polls suggest he received only 39 percent of the white vote. Some may argue that the exit polls prove race was a factor. However, those claims would be difficult to prove, as the poll was not official and voters were not asked why they chose a particular candidate.
Although the president blames racism for his declining approval rating, he said the same factor may compel others to give him a chance. He said black and white voters may choose to give him “the benefit of the doubt precisely because [he is] a black president.”
President Barack Obama is receiving stark criticism for his opinion, as he previously denied race was a factor in his popularity. His opponents suggest he is simply using the “race card” to avoid responsiblity for his controversial policies.
Although his motive will remain a topic of debate, it appears President Obama genuinely believes he is a victim of racism among voters.
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