Poll says Michelle Obama more 'activist' than voters want

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Michelle Obama,Hillary Clinton,Lets Move

First lady Michelle Obama's approval ratings continue to soar far above her husband's, but a new poll finds that she is far more of an “activist” White House spouse than voters want.

Although there is a slight (44 percent to 43 percent) edge in voters who prefer a more traditional than activist first lady, a new Rasmussen Reports poll finds that 54 percent view the popular first lady as an “activist.” Just 32 percent said that she plays “a traditional role.”

It's a role she has tried to straddle. She is not as involved in policy as former first lady Hillary Clinton was, but she is using her bully pulpit more than former first lady Laura Bush did, especially in urging the nation, and particularly children, to get fit.

One thing is clear, though: She is seen as a very good role model for younger Americans. Some 61 percent told Rasmussen that Obama is a good role model, and just 23 percent disagreed.

That view, however, split along partisan lines: 87 percent of Democrats said Obama is a good role model, but just 36 percent of Republicans agreed. More Republicans, 41 percent, said she is not a good role model for younger Americans.

Democrats also like a more activist first lady, something they have witnessed from Democratic administrations dating back to Eleanor Roosevelt. Some 71 percent of Democrats prefer an activist first lady, but 70 percent of Republicans want their first lady to play a more traditional role, presumably devoting more time to East Wing issues.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at