It's Her Birthday - And She's Still Popular

By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
Fifty-one percent of Americans hold a favorable opinion of the first lady, according to the poll, conducted January 11-15.

First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Inaugural citizen co-chair David Hall on Jan. 17, 2013, ahead of #MLKDay of Service. / Official White House photo

(CBS News) First Lady Michelle Obama rings in her 49th birthday today with a positive public image, a new CBS News/ New York Times poll shows.

Fifty-one percent of Americans hold a favorable opinion of the first lady, according to the poll, conducted January 11-15. Just 13 percent view her unfavorably while a third of Americans are undecided or haven't heard enough about the first lady.

Obama is especially popular with Democrats, while Republicans are more divided in their opinions: 24 percent view her favorably, but 30 percent have an unfavorable opinion of her. The first lady is viewed positively by both men and women, but is more popular with women: 57 percent of women view her favorably compared to 44 percent of men.

In February 2009, shortly after President Obama was sworn into office, Michelle Obama's favorable rating was 49 percent. That number rose to a high of 67 percent in April of that year as Mr. Obama marked his first 100 days in office.

The first lady's favorability remained mostly in the 40s throughout 2010 and 2011 and spiked up to 61 percent just after the 2012 Democratic National Convention in September.

With Obama preparing to start another four years as first lady, her office today unveiled a new Twitter account for her with the handle @FLOTUS. (FLOTUS is the acronym for "First Lady of the United States")

The Obama campaign runs a separate Twitter account, @MichelleObama, for the first lady. Similarly, the White House and the Obama campaign run separate Twitter accounts for Mr. Obama.

The first message from the first lady's new Twitter account read, "The @FLOTUS Office is now on @twitter & will post updates & pics. When it's her, she'll sign -mo. PS: RT to wish Mrs. Obama a#HappyBirthday."

The White House hasn't said yet how the first family will celebrate the first lady's birthday, but in recent years, the president has taken her out to dinner. Last year, the couple went to a restaurant near the White House called BLT Steak, while in 2011, Mr. Obama took his wife to Wolfgang Puck's The Source restaurant.

This poll was conducted by telephone from January 11-15, 2013 among 1,110 adults nationwide.

Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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