2014

First Lady Michelle Obama Perceived as Positively Influencing Presidential Policies Majority of Americans also believe she was a positive factor in President Obama's re-election

NEW YORK, March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With our 24 hour news cycle, the name Obama is never far from Americans' ears.  Most of the time this is due to mentions of President Barack Obama, but whether it is discussing the mid-life crisis she had when she got bangs or when she dances with Jimmy Fallon or presents the Academy Award for Best Picture, the First Lady gets her fair share of press as well.  And, while it has been widely reported that First Lady Michelle Obama is popular among Americans, it may come as more of a surprise just how many feel she has a positive influence on her husband's decisions and was a positive factor in his 2012 re-election.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO )

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,166 U.S. adults surveyed online between January 7 and 9, 2013 by Harris Interactive.

Behind every great man...
Regardless of personal feelings as to whether or not "great" is a description that can be applied to our 44th president, Michelle Obama is clearly an appealing figure, with roughly two-thirds (65%) of Americans indicating that she is doing either an "Excellent" or "Pretty good" job as first lady.

  • 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 First Lady Obama 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%).

  • The perception of Michelle Obama as the best-dressed first lady is stronger among younger Americans (53% ages 18-34, 58% ages 35-44, 39% ages 45-54, 42% ages 55+) and among women (51% women, 43% men).
  • The perception of First Lady Michelle Obama as more popular than her husband is notable for the similar levels at which Americans of all political affiliations agree with the statement (44% Republicans, 48% Democrats, 49% Independents).

Agreement is greatly outpaced by disagreement for the statements "She has not impacted Americans with the Let's Move campaign" (37% agree – 50% disagree) and "She has not made any important contributions as First Lady" (34%-57%).

So what?
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?   

TABLE 1a
RATING OF FIRST LADY
by Region, Age & Gender
"Now thinking about First Lady Michelle Obama, how would you rate the job she is doing as First Lady?"

Base: U.S. Adults


2013
Total

Region

Ages

Gender

North-
east

Mid-
west

South

West

Ages
18-34

Ages
35-44

Ages
45-54

Ages
55+

Male

Female

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

65

66

60

63

71

68

67

63

62

61

69

     Excellent

35

32

33

33

43

34

34

33

37

32

38

     Pretty good

30

35

28

31

28

34

33

30

26

29

31

NEGATIVE (NET)

35

34

40

37

29

32

33

37

38

39

31

     Only fair

19

21

19

20

15

20

19

23

17

20

18

     Poor

16

13

21

16

14

12

14

14

21

19

13

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; * indicates <0.5%; - indicates 0%.

 

TABLE 1b
RATING OF FIRST LADY
by Political Affiliation
"Now thinking about First Lady [Laura Bush / Michelle Obama], how would you rate the job she is doing as First Lady?"

Base: U.S. Adults


Laura Bush
Sept. 2006

Michelle Obama
June 2009

Jan 2013
Total

Political Affiliation

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

64

68

65

33

88

64

     Excellent

23

28

35

6

59

31

     Pretty good

40

39

30

27

29

33

NEGATIVE (NET)

36

32

35

67

12

36

     Only fair

29

21

19

32

10

18

     Poor

8

11

16

35

2

18

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding;

 

TABLE 2a
PERCEPTION OF FIRST LADY'S INFLUENCE ON PRESIDENT'S DECISIONS
by Region, Age & Gender
"Overall, do you think her influence on the president's decisions is...?"

Base: U.S. Adults


2013
Total

Region

Ages

Gender

North-
east

Mid-
west

South

West

Ages
18-34

Ages
35-44

Ages
45-54

Ages
55+

Males

Females

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

70

74

66

69

74

75

74

70

65

66

74

     Very good

32

28

30

31

38

30

32

29

35

26

37

     Somewhat good

39

46

35

38

36

46

42

41

30

40

37

BAD (NET)

30

26

34

31

26

25

26

30

35

34

26

     Somewhat bad

17

15

18

20

14

15

16

17

20

18

17

     Very bad

12

11

17

11

12

10

10

13

16

16

9

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; * indicates <0.5%; - indicates 0%.

 

TABLE 2b
PERCEPTION OF FIRST LADY'S INFLUENCE ON PRESIDENT'S DECISIONS
by Political Affiliation
"Overall, do you think her influence on the president's decisions is...?"

Base: U.S. Adults


Michelle Obama
June 2009

Jan 2013
Total

Political Affiliation

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

77

70

39

95

66

     Very good

28

32

6

56

24

     Somewhat good

49

39

32

39

42

BAD (NET)

23

30

61

5

34

     Somewhat bad

14

17

38

4

18

     Very bad

9

12

23

1

16

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; * indicates <0.5%; - indicates 0%.

 

TABLE 3a
POSITIVE STATEMENTS ABOUT FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA
Summary Table
"How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about First Lady Michelle Obama?"

Base: U.S. adults


AGREE

(NET)

Strongly

agree

Somewhat

agree

DISAGREE

(NET)

Somewhat

disagree

Strongly

disagree

Not at all sure

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

She was a positive factor in her
husband's re-election.

71

34

37

18

9

9

11

She is the best-dressed first lady.

47

18

29

36

16

20

16

She is more popular than her
husband.

46

16

30

40

28

12

14

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 3b
POSITIVE STATEMENTS ABOUT FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA
by Region, Age & Gender
[Summary of "Strongly agree" + "Somewhat agree" Responses]
"How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about First Lady Michelle Obama?"

Base: U.S. Adults


2013 Total

Region

Ages

Gender

North-
east

Mid-
west

South

West

Ages
18-34

Ages
35-44

Ages
45-54

Ages
55+

Males

Females

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

She was a positive factor in
her husband's re-election.

71

76

70

68

71

68

72

72

71

69

72

She is the best-dressed first lady.

47

48

46

46

50

53

58

39

42

43

51

She is more popular than her husband.

46

49

46

45

44

44

45

43

50

46

46

Note: Multiple responses; * indicates <0.5%; - indicates 0%.

 

TABLE 3c
POSITIVE STATEMENTS ABOUT FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA
by Political Affiliation
[Summary or "Strongly agree" + "Somewhat agree" Responses]
"How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about First Lady Michelle Obama?"

Base: U.S. Adults


Jan 2013
Total

Political Affiliation

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

She was a positive factor in her husband's
re-election.

71

54

89

67

She is the best-dressed first lady.

47

24

67

41

She is more popular than her husband.

46

44

48

49

Note: Multiple responses; * indicates <0.5%; - indicates 0%.

 

TABLE 4a
NEGATIVE STATEMENTS ABOUT FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA
Summary Table
"How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about First Lady Michelle Obama?"

Base: U.S. adults


AGREE

(NET)

Strongly

agree

Somewhat

agree

DISAGREE

(NET)

Somewhat

disagree

Strongly

disagree

Not at all
sure

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

She has not impacted Americans
with the Let's Move campaign.

37

16

21

50

26

24

13

She has not made any important
contributions as First Lady.

34

18

16

57

25

33

8

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 4b
NEGATIVE STATEMENTS ABOUT FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA
by Region, Age & Gender
[Summary or "Strongly agree" + "Somewhat agree" Responses]
"How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about First Lady Michelle Obama?"

Base: U.S. Adults


2013
Total

Region

Ages

Gender

North-
east

Mid-
west

South

West

Ages
18-34

Ages
35-44

Ages
45-54

Ages
55+

Males

Females

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

She has not impacted
Americans with the Let's
Move campaign.

37

35

39

41

31

30

35

43

41

43

31

She has not made any
important contributions as
First Lady.

34

32

33

38

31

30

33

35

38

36

33

Note: Multiple responses; * indicates <0.5%; - indicates 0%.

 

TABLE 4c
NEGATIVE STATEMENTS ABOUT FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA
by Political Affiliation
[Summary or "Strongly agree" + "Somewhat agree" Responses]
"How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about First Lady Michelle Obama?"

Base: U.S. Adults


Jan 2013
Total

Political Affiliation

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

She has not impacted Americans with the
Let's Move campaign.

37

61

22

37

She has not made any important
contributions as First Lady.

34

61

16

36

Note: Multiple responses; * indicates <0.5%; - indicates 0%.

Methodology
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between January 7 and 9, 2013 among 2,166 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J42773
Q755

The Harris Poll® #12, March 5, 2013
By Larry Shannon-Missal, Research Manager, Harris Poll

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.com  

SOURCE Harris Interactive



RELATED LINKS
http://www.harrisinteractive.com
http://www.harrisinteractive.com
http://www.harrisinteractive.com
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheHarrisInteractive
http://twitter.com/harrispoll
http://twitter.com/harrisint
http://www.facebook.com/HarrisPoll
http://www.facebook.com/harrisinteractive?ref=share

More by this Source


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

 

PR Newswire Membership

Fill out a PR Newswire membership form or contact us at (888) 776-0942.

Learn about PR Newswire services

Request more information about PR Newswire products and services or call us at (888) 776-0942.