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Washington • President Barack Obama said that racial tensions may have softened his popularity among white voters within the last two years, according to a story posted on The New Yorker magazine's website Sunday.
"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," Obama said in the article by David Remnick, appearing in the magazine's Jan. 27 edition.
"Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I'm a black president," Obama said in his most direct comments on how race has affected his political standing since he's been in office.
Obama's second term has been marked by controversies including a partial government shutdown in October, revelations that the National Security Agency has gathered personal mobile phone data and the troubled rollout of health insurance expansion.
Obama's approval rating among all voters is 39 percent and his disapproval rating is 53 percent, according to a Gallup Poll conducted Jan. 14-16. In the 2012 presidential election, Republican candidate Mitt Romney won 59 percent of the white vote, compared with Obama's 39 percent, according to exit polling by a consortium of major news outlets. Obama won 43 percent of the white vote in 2008 against 55 percent for opponent John McCain.
"Poll after poll makes it very clear that Obamacare and other job-killing policies are the reason" for the president's decline in popularity, Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer said in a phone interview.