President, Michelle Obama Approval Gap Widens : The Two-Way President, Michelle Obama Approval Gap Widens
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President, Michelle Obama Approval Gap Widens

Obamas Pew favorable poll
National Journal/Pew Research Center

As President Barack Obama's approval ratings have fallen from the stratospheric peak he enjoyed around the time of his inauguration, First Lady Michelle Obama's favorable ratings have fallen too, just not as much.

Thus, the approval gap between her and the president is widening in her favor. Pew Research Center for The People and The Press reports that in a recent survey, 69 percent of respondents gave her a favorable rating compared with the 56 percent who said they approved of the president.

It just so happens that back before the presidential election, she was the one who had the 56 percent approval rating while her husband, then a senator from Illinois, was at 62 percent. Their numbers aren't a total reversal of 2008 but they come close.

Because presidents get the credit or the blame for whatever voters are respectively happy or angry about, the link between their approval ratings and events is easier to explain than that of a first lady.

Still, Michelle Obama's rise in the polls demonstrates that she continues to stay on the right side of the American people.

She has no doubt been helped by her choice of causes, the fight against childhood obesity, which is something many Americans can relate to.

And she has been decidedly uncontroversial as a first lady, avoiding missteps like the one she made during the campaign in which she said that the response to her husband's run made her "really proud" of her country for the first time as an adult. That definitely didn't go over well with many voters.

Meanwhile, for those who keep track of such matters, Sarah Palin's approval rating was 39 percent compared with an unfavorable rating of 52 percent. She was doing slightly worse than she did last November.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's wasn't winning any popularity contests either, with a favorable rating even lower than Palin's at 27 percent while her unfavorable rating was 50 percent.