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'Feelings Thermometer': Michelle Obama Ranks 'Warmest' With Voters, Pelosi 'Coldest'

4 years ago
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Everyone is used to the familiar "horse race" poll that tells us who is out front when it comes to a campaign, but Quinnipiac University has a different measure for some of today's leading political personalities: namely, who ranks the "warmest" and "coldest" on a "feelings thermometer"?

The winner when it comes to warmest? First lady Michelle Obama, with former President Bill Clinton close behind. The coldest? Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi. (Actually, Harry Reid ranks right in between them, but more later on why his result doesn't count as much).

The way Quinnipiac did this poll, which was conducted among registered voters Feb. 21-28, was to ask those surveyed to "choose any number between 0 and 100. The higher the number, the warmer or more favorable you feel toward that person, the lower the number, the colder or less favorable." The pollster then calculated a mean score for each.

But possibly a more bracing result for some of the politicians than being seen as "cold" was the measure of how little some of them are known nationwide, despite the relentless coverage they may get in Washington.

Quinnipiac asked respondents to say if they did not know enough about the person to rate him or her. The list of "least knowns" was topped by many of the Republicans who are considering making a run for president in 2012: former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (84 percent don't know him); Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana (78 percent); former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota (67 percent); Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi (65 percent); and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania (63 percent).

Now, back to Harry Reid. He may be the Senate majority leader and was much in the news last year because of his high-profile re-election contest against tea party favorite Sharron Angle, but 37 percent do not know enough about him to express an opinion. That's much less the case with his company at the "cold" end of the list – Palin, who is unknown by only 4 percent, and Pelosi, unknown by 15 percent.

At the other end of the thermometer, first-term Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who has been a hit on the speaking circuit lately, ranks as the third warmest, but 55 percent don't know enough about him, compared with Mrs. Obama (4 percent), Bill Clinton (2 percent) and President Obama (everyone knows him).

While Democrats feel almost equally warm about President Obama and Bill Clinton, Republicans are fonder of Clinton: His mean "temperature" among them was 41.5, compared with 30.4 for Obama.

The temperatures for Palin and Pelosi are a measure of how polarizing each is. Palin is seen warmly by 63.8 percent of Republicans while Pelosi gets a score of 58.2 from Democrats. But the feelings they inspire in members of the opposite party are cold indeed: Palin gets a 15.6 from Democrats and Pelosi gets a 13.1 from Republicans.

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March 07 2011 at 10:06 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

MO is not even proud to be an American, how can anyone vote for her?

March 07 2011 at 3:32 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Aviator's comment

And Sarah Palin is married to someone who wants to secede from the union. What is your point?

March 07 2011 at 3:42 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lillyluminatus's comment

lillyluminatus ...I agree Mrs. Obama is a great mom.

March 07 2011 at 5:37 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down

Aviator can anyone vote for her?....uhm...Sweat heart the First Lady does not get a separate vote. She holds a non-elected

March 07 2011 at 5:39 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
AZ Stang

Not scientifically applicable, but it was right about Pelosi!

March 07 2011 at 1:02 PM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply

A comparison between failed elected political officials and a non offical seems pretty biased wouldn't you say. Of course more people will not like the politicians.

March 07 2011 at 12:36 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vicbar88's comment

Perhaps part of Mrs. Obama's vote was really for the President, the way some people are posting about her husband one needs really great courage to publicly support her husband.

March 07 2011 at 1:32 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

I am sure they polled people that would say what they wanted to hear. I don't know anyone who think the lovely Mrs. Obama is warm. The people I know think she is busy spending our taxes dollars on parties, vacations, large staffes to make her look lovely. No one I know thinks she has added one thing to the good of America.

March 07 2011 at 12:15 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to janekatyt's comment

So do you think she outspent Laura Bush? I would like to see in black and white what you are talking about!
Oh and what is your point?
I hope you have a nice day and you will get used to it by 2016!

March 07 2011 at 4:38 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

When did the role of a First Lady become so offensive to you?

When she became a Democrat? Or when she became black?

March 07 2011 at 7:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

With all the research,display and discussion that could go on and on and on about the wasteful and inefficient Federal Govt. we get this mindless drivel. This is part of the problem. We have "journalists" , in order to justify their existence, coming out with stuff that is irrelevant. Could we have some hard hitting stories to address the impending Fiscal Crisis? Or, will we have all these Journalistic Neros fiddling as America goes down the economic tube? I guess if they do any story about the Govt. it will be that the world will end unless we continue to borrow and spend our future generations into bankruptcy.

March 07 2011 at 10:31 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to cplkling's comment

What kind of research is this???. "Feeling"...."warm" about someone....based upon WHAT??? Sounds like a lot of subjective, feel-good self-report....based upon unrelated factors. This is ridiculous.

March 07 2011 at 10:14 AM Report abuse +18 rate up rate down Reply

15% of the people don't know enough about Nancy Pelosi to respond? Gimmee a break.

March 07 2011 at 9:54 AM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply

I think that in a larger sampling of voters AND non-voters, that Bill Clinton would win hands down as the warmest of any politician who has ever served. Having met the man, it iwould not be any surprise, but I must say that Michelle Obama was a surprise. But, what does the poll mean when Newt Gingrich ranks that high? Get real....this poll holds no signifigance to the American people. It is merely a popularity guage....that and $1.25 will maybe buy a cup of coffee.

March 07 2011 at 9:52 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

This story and survey are almost stupid. There is no comparison to work with. Michelle Obama is a politicians wife. and Pelosi is a politician. Pelosi agenda is out to destroy this country while Michelle Obama agenda really has no political effect on what is going on in this country. She is working with child obesity which is fine but will not have any effect on the economy and jobs.

March 07 2011 at 7:57 AM Report abuse +18 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Kenneth's comment

I have to agree. If they want to compare apples to apples, rate the first ladies amongst each other, and do the same for the politicians. The politicians definitely have to be involved in areas the are more controversial than the first lady.

March 07 2011 at 10:13 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Pelosi is "out to destroy the country"? Really? Do you really think that she wants to destroy the country? I don't believe that about ANYONE except, say, Al Queda. I don't believe ANY of our politicians WANT to destroy the country, even the ones I disagree with the most. Even if you totally disagree with her in every way, you can't say she's "out to destroy the country." It's just ABSURD! Do you really think she goes home to her husband and her children and says, "Yes, dear... I'm trying very hard to destroy the country, pretty soon I'll have it destroyed." Hello! She LIVES in this country! WHY, exactly, would she WANT to destroy her OWN HOME? Disagreeing with her is one thing but "out to destroy the country" is so over-the-top absurd I can't describe it.

March 07 2011 at 10:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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