- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

Talk about his better half. It’s FLOTUS trumps POTUS.

That’s right: The first lady is getting better favorability ratings than the president.

The same thing happened to President Kennedy. After a 1961 tour of Europe with his svelte wife, Jacqueline, Mr. Kennedy remarked on his return stateside: “I do not think it altogether inappropriate to introduce myself. I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.”

The pollsters weren’t polling that moment almost five decades ago. Not so this week.

A new Gallup poll reveals that President Obama’s favorability rating is 69 percent; Michelle Obama’s is 72 percent. But Mr. Obama’s unfavorable rating is 28 percent. His spouse? She garnered a 17 percent.

“While the three percentage-point difference between the two favorable ratings is not statistically significant, Michelle Obama’s much lower unfavorable ratings compared with the president’s (17% vs. 28%) give her the clear edge in public favorability,” Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones said.

Mrs. Obama is also more popular among Republicans than her husband. He gets a 36 percent favorability rating with the GOP; she gets a 48 percent.

“It is not uncommon for first ladies to be more popular than their husbands, in terms of either their favorable ratings or their job approval ratings,” Mr. Jones observes. “The greater popularity of first ladies likely reflects that their role is far less controversial than that of the president, which often results in less partisan ratings of the first lady.”

Indeed.

An ABC/Washington Post poll also reinforces the trend. Mr. Obama scored a 66 percent job-approval rating according to those news organization. Mrs. Obama sailed ahead, however, with a 76 percent approval rating.


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