Critics and viewers have drawn parallels between Francis' presidency to that of current President Barack Obama and the executive decisions and events that have transpired since his entering into office.
Claire's status as First Lady has also drawn parallels to that of current First Lady Michelle Obama--particularly aspects that have been deemed "controversial" in the public eye by conservative politicians and conservative citizens.
Francis' introducing of his program "America Works" (or AmWorks) has also been compared to the introduction of "ObamaCare"--both were met with praise and criticism and are very much a part of political debate.
Claire's criticism of the Russian President Viktor Petrov was compared to the widespread criticism and controversy of current Russian President Vladimir Putin in regards to human rights.
Though the season was met with positive feedback, many viewers and critics were skeptical of the dismissal of season two's major events, such as Francis' murdering of Zoe Barnes; Janine's and Lucas's personal investigation and knowledge of Underwood's dark side; and many "plot holes" (from season 2) that detracted from season three's story arch. Early reviews even criticized the lack of twists that were presented in seasons one and two and felt that the characters of Francis and Claire deserved more to act on in terms of plot.