12/15: Favorable First Lady

Overall, registered voters nationally like First Lady Michelle Obama.  68% have a favorable impression of her compared with 20% who hold an unfavorable view of her.  Even a majority of Republicans — 53% — think well of Mrs. Obama.  85% of Democrats and 61% of Independents say the same.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama (courtesy of whitehouse.gov)

Table: Michelle Obama Favorability

High Marks for Mrs. Obama’s Performance as First Lady

Michelle Obama is also scoring points in how she is doing as First Lady of the United States.  57% of registered voters nationwide think Mrs. Obama is doing well in her position.  24% report she is doing a fair job, and 10% rate her poorly.  The First Lady is receiving kudos from more voters than she did when Marist last asked about her approval rating in March.  At that time, 50% of voters thought she was doing either an excellent or good job.  And, more voters have formed an impression of Mrs. Obama since March.  Currently, just 9% report they are unsure how to rate her compared with 24% when Marist last asked this question.

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Voters also think that Mrs. Obama is keeping up her end of the bargain.  Nearly six in ten voters — 57% — say the First Lady has met their expectations.  15% report she has exceeded their expectations while 16% say she has fallen below their expectations.

Like her husband, Mrs. Obama is not immune from partisan politics.  However, even a majority of Republicans — 52% — think she is meeting their expectations.  63% of Democrats and 53% of Independent voters agree.

Table: Michelle Obama Approval Rating
Table: Michelle Obama Meeting Expectations?

But, Mrs. Obama Is Not Revolutionizing the Role of First Lady

More voters have formed an opinion about the impact Mrs. Obama is having on the role of First Lady, but the reviews aren’t great.  37% of registered voters nationally say Michelle Obama has changed the role for the better.  This is down from 43% in April.  The proportion of voters who think Mrs. Obama has adversely affected the position is now 10% compared with 5% in April, and 46% of voters report Mrs. Obama has not changed the role at all.  32% thought this way eight months ago.

Table: Impact on Role of First Lady

Mixed Reviews on Issue of Work-Family Balance

One of the issues Mrs. Obama professed to feeling passionately about prior to the start of her husband’s presidency was the issue of work-family balance.  What kind of an impact has she had on changing the view of that issue?  A plurality — 45% — says she has made no change at all while 40% believe she has made positive strides.  Just 5% report she has made the image worse.

Table: Impact on Work-Family Balance

Fashionable First Lady?

There was a lot of buzz surrounding Mrs. Obama’s fashion sense when she first entered the White House, but has her style lived up to the hype?  41% of registered voters believe she has changed fashion for the better while 8% think she has impacted it negatively.  39% say she has had no impact on it at all, and 12% are unsure.  In April, 37% of voters said Mrs. Obama’s style had a positive affect on fashion, 5% thought she made it worse, and 34% said she had little impact on it.  24%, at that time, were unsure.

Table: Impact on Fashion

Marist Poll Methodology