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Getting to know you, poll finds Americans seem ready to like Michelle Obama

December 10, 2008 | 10:48 am

A significant number of Americans -- somewhere still around a third, according to a new Times/Bloomberg poll -- don't know or haven't heard enough to feel they know the first lady-to-be.

The rest of them seem prepared to kinda like MichelMichelle Obama about to become First Ladyle Obama.

A majority of almost all categories have a favorable impression -- all voters (53%), registered voters (56%), Democrats (67%), independents (50%), women (59%), those making less than $50,000 (54%) and those making more (53%).

The only groups that don't score at least 50%: men (47%) and Republicans (38%).

This is based on a national sampling Dec. 6-8 of 1,000 Americans, including 910 registered voters, with a sampling error of plus or minus  3%.

Those with an unfavorable impression of Michelle Obama are slightly different -- all voters and registered voters (both 13%), Democrats (3%), independents, women and both income categories (13%).

Only 12% of men have an unfavorable view of the president-elect's wife, although among all Republicans, fully 31% think unfavorably at this early stage.

Now, as for all recent first ladies, Americans still like the Bushes best -- Barbara (83%) and Laura (72%). Next is Obama, who isn't first lady yet (53%), followed by Nancy Reagan (43%).

That leaves, let's see, oh, you-know-who as the least favorable, Hillary Clinton (39%). She also has the highest unfavorable rating (26%).

But, to be candid, those numbers might change if the "Haven't Heard Enough" crowd was telling the truth. After watching Clinton for nearly 17 years in American public life, 35% still claim they really don't know enough about her. Yeah, right. 

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Chicago Tribune