C-SPAN Poll: 2/3rds OK with first lady having an outside job

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

C-SPAN, which on Monday debuts its new series "First Ladies: Influence and Image," has release a poll that finds the public is supportive of presidential wives who want to work outside of the White House, but is against giving them a federal paycheck.

According to the poll:

-- 65 percent say it's OK for first ladies to hold a job while her husband is president.

-- Just 40 percent say the first lady should receive a government salary.

-- On the subject of first ladies using their platform to advocate for political or policy issues, Americans are split 53 percent-47 percent.

While no first lady has actively sought to win a job outside the White House, first lady Michelle Obama had a prominent legal job before becoming first lady and would be widely sought by Washington firms.

From C-SPAN:

In a new national poll timed for President's Day and the Feb. 18 premiere of C-SPAN's new, two-season original series: "First Ladies: Influence and Image," two-thirds (65%) of American voters say it's acceptable for a First Lady to hold an outside job while her husband is President. However, just 40% say a First Lady should receive a government salary.

On the question of whether First Ladies should use their platform to advocate for important political and policy issues, overall voters are split on the issue 53%-47%. However, the poll reveals a sharp 16-point gap on whether First Ladies should use their platform to advocate. A solid majority (60%) of women say yes to advocacy by First Ladies while 56% of men disagree.

Results from a Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) national survey conducted online for C-SPAN from Feb, 13-14, 2013, among 1,049 U.S. likely voters (margin of error +/- 3%):

1. How does your opinion of a First Lady influence your opinion of her husband, the President?

Major impact 23% (Male: 23%; Female: 24%)

Minor impact 40% (Male: 36%; Female: 45%)

No impact 36% (Male: 42%; Female: 32%)

2. How acceptable would it be for a First Lady to hold an outside job while her husband is President?

Acceptable 65% (Male: 59%; Female: 69%)

Not acceptable 35% (Male: 41% ; Female: 30%)

3. Should a First Lady receive a government salary since a significant amount of her daily schedule is dedicated to public events?

Yes 40% (Male: 41%; Female: 39 % )

No 60% (Male: 60%; Female: 61% )

4. Should First Ladies use their platform to advocate for important political and policy issues?

Yes 53% (Male: 44%; Female:60%)

No 47% (Male: 56%; Female: 40%)

The poll release coincides with the debut of C-SPAN's new series on First Ladies on President's Day. Each week beginning February 18, 2013, "First Ladies: Influence and Image" will tell the stories of the women who served in the role of first lady over 44 administrations. The 90-minute programs will air live Mondays at 9pm ET on C-SPAN and C-SPAN 3, C-SPAN Radio, and via livestreaming on c-span.org. C-SPAN and its partner in the series, the White House Historical Association, also are collaborating on a video-rich website to accompany the series .