First Lady Michelle Obama Perceived As Positive Influence On Presidential Policies

By Newsroom America Staff at 5 Mar 2013

(Newsroom America) -- About two-thirds (65%) of Americans have indicated in a Harris Poll that Michelle Obama is doing either an "Excellent" or "Pretty good" job as first lady.

The Harris Poll of 2,166 U.S. adults surveyed online between January 7 and 9, 2013.

While combined positive ratings are similar to those seen for Laura Bush in September of 2006 (64%) and down slightly from her own ratings in June of 2009 (68%), Michelle Obama's 2013 "Excellent" ratings (35%) are up from Laura Bush's 2006 ratings (23%) and up from First Lady Obama's own 2009 ratings (28%).

First Lady Obama's combined excellent and pretty good ratings are significantly higher among women (69%) than men (61%).

Nearly two-thirds of political Independents (64%) rate the job First Lady Obama is doing as either excellent or pretty good, as do the vast majority (88%) of Democrats and one-third (33%) of Republicans.

Looking beyond the more symbolic post of First Lady, Michelle Obama is also seen as having a positive influence within the political sphere: seven in ten Americans (70%) believe she has either a very or somewhat good influence on the President's decisions (down somewhat from the 77% recorded in 2009).

Women (74%) are more likely to perceive her influence on the President's decisions as good than men (66%).

Roughly two-thirds of political Independents (66%) believe Michelle Obama has either a very or somewhat good influence on the President's decisions, as do nearly all (95%) Democrats and roughly four in ten (39%) Republicans.

Additionally, seven in ten Americans (71%) agree that First Lady Michelle Obama was a positive factor in her husband's re-election, with the majority across all political persuasions agreeing on this point (54% Republicans, 89% Democrats, 67% Independents).

Looking at other positive statements regarding the First Lady, nearly half of Americans agree that she is the best-dressed First Lady (47%) and that she is more popular than her husband (46%).

Harris said the first family lives a life of perpetual exposure and scrutiny, and these results back 2009 findings, showing Michelle Obama to be weathering the attention well.

"What's more, the perception of positively influencing presidential policy and her husband's 2012 presidential campaign indicates that all sides see her as holding an important position within Washington.

"Who knows what the future might hold for this continually popular figure? Will she follow another First Lady? A Senate run has already been suggested, if only speculatively so, by some. Or, will she create a charitable organization to continue championing her "Let's Move" campaign?" said Harris.

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