“If you were going to list the hundred most popular things that I have done as president, being married to Michelle Obama is number one,” the president said during an appearance in Baltimore last year. Obama turned his wife into a proxy for a smart and easy decision, compared with tough but necessary choices that brought him grief as president. “Bailing out banks and rescuing failing auto companies doesn’t make the list,” he added in the next breath.

Pollsters point out that President Obama enjoys an enduring and unusual advantage while governing through the worst recession since the Great Depression, two wars, and a period of shaken American trust in most institutions. People like him. They may not like Obama’s policies or the job he’s been doing as president, but they believe he’s a decent guy who cares about their worries.

To win re-election as the incumbent next year under the weight of high unemployment and intense criticism from Republican challengers will take something special, and high favorability just might be an edge. The president’s favorable rating was 63 percent the week after he announced that Osama bin Laden was dead. That was close to 10 points higher than his job approval numbers — a differential that has remained throughout his presidency.

Two-thirds of American voters view Michelle favorably, a decided plus along the campaign trail, especially among younger voters, according to a Marist poll. Her standing in May compared with a peak of 72 percent in the first lady’s favorability shortly after the launch of her campaign to reduce childhood obesity in 2009.

To win re-election as the incumbent next year under the weight of high unemployment and intense criticism from Republican challengers will take something special, and high favorability just might be an edge. The president’s favorable rating was 63 percent the week after he announced that Osama bin Laden was dead. That was close to 10 points higher than his job approval numbers — a differential that has remained throughout his presidency.

Two-thirds of American voters view Michelle favorably, a decided plus along the campaign trail, especially among younger voters, according to a Marist poll. Her standing in May compared with a peak of 72 percent in the first lady’s favorability shortly after the launch of her campaign to reduce childhood obesity in 2009.

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