President Barack Obama's greatest achievement is also his greatest failure, according to the American public. A Gallup poll released Monday shows while 22 percent of the public - predominantly Democrats - say the Affordable Care Act is the biggest feather in his cap, 36 percent - mostly Republicans - cite it as his biggest presidential failure.
"That significant proportions of Americans apparently can view the healthcare law as either a positive or a negative underscores its controversial status in recent domestic policy," said Frank Newport, Gallup's editor in chief, in a memo accompanying the poll results. "This is not necessarily unusual."
Newport said the public felt similarly about the Iraq War under President George W. Bush and the Great Society programs under President Lyndon Johnson.
While 39 percent of Democrats volunteered Obamacare, the comprehensive health care reform law passed strictly by Democrats in 2010 as the president's top achievement, just 5 percent of Republicans said the same. Meanwhile, about one-quarter of Democrats and about half of all Republicans said the law was his biggest failure.
"This suggests that even Democrats recognize the negative issues associated with the new healthcare law and its implementation," Newport said.
Other top accomplishments for the president volunteered by the public are getting troops home and ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as capturing Osama bin Laden and wider efforts to curb terrorism. But Obama was also criticized for not getting along with Congress or working better with Republicans, as well as an overall lack of communication.
"To this point in time, Americans' views of Obama's greatest achievement and biggest failure tend to revolve around the signature health care legislation that informally bears his name," Newport said. "This suggests that as Obama's term in office continues through its final three years and beyond, Americans' - and most likely history's - assessment of his presidency could turn on the ultimate verdict of how well his health care law achieved its goal of making healthcare affordable and accessible to all Americans."
The poll surveyed 1,031 adults between Dec. 5-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.