May 9th, 2014
12:01 AM ET
6 years ago

Who's the most admired first lady?

Washington (CNN) - Bush and Clinton are tied in a new poll.

But this isn't a survey of a possible 2016 presidential showdown. Instead it's a poll of the most admired first lady.

According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Friday, 27% of Americans say Barbara Bush is the most admired first lady over the past quarter century. Bush, the wife of former President George. H.W. Bush, is tied for the top spot in the survey with Hillary Clinton, who succeeded Bush in the White House as first lady.

The poll indicates current First Lady Michelle Obama is a close third, at 24%, with her predecessor, Laura Bush at 17%.

But the survey suggests large partisan and racial divides.

Forty-two percent of Democrats say Obama is the most admired first lady, with Clinton just three-percentage points behind. Republicans questioned put Barbara Bush on top at 45%, with Laura Bush second at 36%. And independents most admire Barbara Bush (28%) and Clinton (27%).

One-third of white respondents say they admire Barbara Bush, with Clinton second at 24%. Among African-Americans, Michelle Obama (58%) is most admired, with Clinton (30%) a distant second. And among Latinos, Clinton's in first (45%) followed by Obama (29%).

Jeb Bush edges up, Hillary Clinton slightly down, in our latest CNN/ORC 2016 poll

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted April 23-27, with 1,000 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey has an overall sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Complete coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: Barbara Bush • Hillary Clinton • Laura Bush • Michelle Obama • White House
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. NealR2000

    It's interesting how Hillary somehow managed to get the center spot. You'd think that this center spot would be the current First Lady.

    May 9, 2014 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  2. Gus

    Eleanor Roosevelt, Hands down!

    May 9, 2014 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Not in this country Neal R. Not in this country....

    May 9, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ NealR2000
    Regarding the lineup: I think it may have been done in ascending or descending order, depending on which side of the stage you start at.

    May 9, 2014 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  5. DinIndy

    BARBARA? The one who said the Astrodome was better than where Katrina victims had been living before the hurricane? That rhymes with Witch woman is just as unbearable as the spawn she popped out.

    May 9, 2014 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  6. Pablo Escobar

    Interesting that CNN would bring the Race angle into this. It is a poll for 'most admired first lady' for the love of God. Couldn't you leave the racially divided angle out of that, or, as official news outlet of the Obama Administration, were you under strict orders to make sure racial division was part of it?

    May 9, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  7. robertholt

    As First Lady, for the most part, all Jackie Kennedy ever did was stand there and look pretty.

    May 9, 2014 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  8. miscreantsall

    None of the above!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jackie Kennedy reins as the most admired!!!!!!!!!!

    May 9, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  9. Linda

    I admire both Barbara Bush & Hilary Clinton, but Michelle Obama should take the first place spot.

    May 9, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  10. rgc

    Nothing good ever has come or will come from anyone with the last name of clinton or obama.

    May 9, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  11. heavenlyjane

    Order is based on chronology.

    May 9, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  12. Todd

    Neal, it looks like they put them in chronological order, starting with Carter and ending with Obama.

    May 9, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  13. Jubril

    The most admired is Patience Jonathan (First lady of Nigeria). You only need to hear her speak(on youtube) before realizing why she is admired

    May 9, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    "But this isn't a survey of a possible 2016 presidential showdown. Instead it's a poll of the most admired first lady."

    / sarcasm

    May 9, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  15. Gurgyl

    -it does not matter, nation's keys are with President. These are wives.

    May 9, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  16. john

    What happened to nancy reagan...

    May 9, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. MikD

    Not necessarily. Position of honor is generally to the right. The first ladies are assembled in chronological order.

    May 9, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. mike electrician

    On the other hand, it could be from left to right, current (Obama) all the way to Mrs. Carter.

    May 9, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  19. LH168

    lol ^^^ they're in order

    May 9, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. Dan

    Pat Nixon's The One! I admire how she stayed strong in the face of all the problems associated with Richard. Last on my list would be Michelle – what an unappreciative oaf of a first lady. She's no lady.

    May 9, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. Marty

    I like both Barbara and Laura Bush. Both are a class act protective of family and remaining above politics. I range Obama above Clinton because Clinton was always pushing he own agenda at least Obama looks out for her family and appears to protect her husbands position.

    May 9, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. loco motion

    Hmm, Bill Clinton is highly sought after speaker, well compensated, and respected, now George bush Jr., not any of those things . I wonder why.

    May 9, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. Ol' Yeller


    "It's interesting how Hillary somehow managed to get the center spot. You'd think that this center spot would be the current First Lady."

    Or... it could be that they are in the order of the time they served as first ladies. I know that doesn't fit any conspiracy theories the righties love to create, but it could be that.

    May 9, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. TxGran

    My pick is Pat Nixon for class. She kept quiet, stayed in the background and allowed her husband to put a nail in his own coffin. I vote Hillary and Michelle for their intelligence and good humor. I pick Michelle as the one who isn't afraid to get her hands dirty......literally.

    May 9, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  25. Down with Nazis

    What a skewed poll.

    May 9, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
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