Michelle Obama Best Liked of Scheduled Convention Speakers

The FINANCIAL — Americans view first lady Michelle Obama more positively than other key figures speaking this week at the Democratic National Convention. Fifty-eight percent of Americans have a favorable view of Mrs. Obama, while about half view Sen. Bernie Sanders (53%), President Barack Obama (51%), former President Bill Clinton (49%) and Vice President Joe Biden (48%) favorably.

These five Democratic powerhouses could provide a needed boost to the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, who is expected to accept the party’s nomination on Thursday. Each of these party figures enjoys much higher ratings than Mrs. Clinton, who has seen her image fall to a 24-year low.

These results come from a July 13-17 Gallup poll, more than a week ahead of this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Michelle Obama, the only non-politician on the list, addressed the convention Monday, as did Sanders. Bill Clinton is scheduled to speak Tuesday, and Barack Obama and Biden will speak on Wednesday.

President Obama, former President Clinton, Sanders and Biden have similar favorable ratings, all near 50%, but the two presidents are better known. Americans’ views of the presidents are about equally divided between favorable and unfavorable opinions. Biden and Sanders, on the other hand, are viewed more positively than negatively, with the remainder not having an opinion either way, according to Gallup.

All of the Democratic figures are viewed more favorably by their party faithful than by the public at large. About nine in 10 Democrats view Michelle and Barack Obama favorably, and more than four in five have favorable views of Bill Clinton and Biden.

Because they are less well-known, Biden (81%) and Sanders (77%) have lower favorable ratings among Democrats than the other leaders tested in the poll, all of whom are at 85% or higher. Sanders has a slightly higher unfavorable rating than other Democratic leaders, at 15%, which could reflect some residual bitterness among Democrats who supported Clinton through a prolonged nomination process.

Overall, however, these Democratic luminaries are viewed positively by Democrats. Hillary Clinton has a favorable rating of 70% among Democrats in Gallup’s latest seven-day average, with 26% viewing her unfavorably, a somewhat more negative profile than the other speakers have. Clinton’s relatively subdued image within her own party could reflect her involvement in the contentious campaign and lingering resentment from Sanders supporters.

Bottom Line

In contrast to last week’s Republican convention, where several major GOP leaders declined to attend or endorse their party’s presidential nominee, the Democratic Party’s biggest stars will be out in force this week supporting Clinton. It is support she can use, given that her favorability remains low among the general public and could be better among Democrats.

The party is aiming for a convention that exudes positivity and hope, but this has proven challenging amid recent controversy surrounding former Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and amid the audible protests of Sanders supporters. Still, the popularity of its prime-time speakers presents an opportunity for the party to project a positive image on Clinton’s behalf.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted July 13-17, 2016, with a random sample of 1,023 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.


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