Key Words: What Obama thinks when he hears he’s less popular than Putin among Trump voters

For a twice-elected president of the United States, the result of a poll conducted by the Economist and YouGov finding him less popular than Russia’s Vladimir Putin among Donald Trump voters, as depicted above in a graphic aired on MSNBC, would have to come as a stinging rebuke, even were he to have concluded that antipathy toward him and his eight years in power had played a role in the shock election in November of Trump as president.

Perhaps luckily for President Obama’s psyche, he doesn’t mix the political and the personal — or, in an alternative reading, he has a coping mechanism that’s ready to be deployed on just such occasions, as he explained during a wide-ranging and serialized interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates for the Atlantic:

‘And so when people criticize or respond negatively to me, usually they’re responding to this character that they’re seeing on TV called Barack Obama, or to the office of the presidency and the White House and what that represents.

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