Obama's job approval plummets among US service members

President Obama’s approval among active-duty service members has plummeted to just 15 percent, with a majority of those in the military — 55 percent — saying they disapprove of the president, according to a survey from the Military Times published Monday.

Obama has never been particularly popular with the military, which tends to be politically conservative — in 2009, the year after he was first elected, just 35 percent of those surveyed by the Military Times approved of him. Some 39 percent of respondents this year described themselves as Republicans or libertarians, while just 8 percent self-described as Democrats.

Obama's approval rating dropped 13 percentage points from last year, while the number of service members disapproving of his work as president spiked by a similar amount.

The frustration appears at least in part due to the reductions in pay increases and benefits under sequestration, with Congress in 2014 approving the smallest pay raise since the military became all volunteer.

While in 2009, 87 percent of service members rated their pay and allowance as good or excellent, today, just 44 percent do so. The percentage who say their overall quality of life is “good or excellent” has fallen from 91 percent to 56 percent over that period, and 7 in 10 believe their quality of life will decline in the coming years.

But Obama’s decline comes despite service members largely backing his approach to many issues currently facing the military. Only 3 in 10 service members think the U.S. should send a large force of combat troops to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — something the White House has ruled out.

On social issues, the military is also coming to embrace the president’s policies. The percentage of those who believe the military should exclude women from combat jobs has fallen from 43 percent to 28 percent over the past two years. Similarly, the percentage of those who say openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the military now stands at 60 percent — up from 35 percent in Obama’s first year in office.