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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 01/20/2009

Getting to Know Michelle Obama

The public has warmed considerably to the soon-to-be first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, since her husband clinched the Democratic nomination for president last June. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Mrs. Obama viewed positively by 72 percent of Americans, up from 48 percent when she was both less popular and less widely known last June.

Positive impressions of the self-described "mom in chief" are widespread across party lines, with 92 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of independents and 47 percent of Republicans (including 50 percent of GOP women), expressing favorable views.

Black women are the next FLOTUS's biggest cheerleaders: 99 percent like her (83 percent do so "strongly"), compared with 70 percent of white women.

And since June, Obama has made perhaps her biggest strides among seniors: Just as the general election campaign got underway, 38 percent of seniors held a positive view of her, while 41 percent saw her in a negative light. Now, seniors express overwhelmingly favorable impressions, with 73 percent having a favorable take, 15 percent unfavorable.

Still, her favorability rating lags slightly behind Barack Obama's - 79 percent have a positive view of the President-elect. Two-thirds said they view both Obamas favorably. This shared goodwill is one big difference between the new first couple and the outgoing one. In the latest Post-ABC poll, President Bush's favorability rating stands at 37 percent, the lowest level reached during his tenure. By contrast, his wife Laura leaves Washington with her popularity intact: 76 percent in the latest USA Today-Gallup poll survey view her positively.

                 June '08                   Now
                            No                      No
             Fav   Unfav   opin.     Fav   Unfav   opin
All          48     29      23       72     17      11

Women        54     27      19       74     16      10
Men          42     30      28       70     19      12

Democrats    66     15      19       92      5       3
Republicans  30     50      20       47     38      15
Independents 44     28      28       71     17      12

Black        84      7       9       95      2       4
White        41     33      25       68     20      12

Women:
Black        89      5       5       99      1       1
White        48     31      20       70     19      12

18-39        58     22      20       73     18       9
40-64        45     30      26       70     18      12
65+          38     41      21       73     15      12

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  06:00 AM ET, 01/20/2009

Categories:  Post Polls, Post Polls

 
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