Overwhelmingly popular Michelle Obama heads to West Coast

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    With a sky-high 76 percent approval rating, First Lady Michelle Obama will join California’s first lady Maria Shriver in San Francisco next week to kick off the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service.
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A highly popular Michelle Obama will head to the West Coast next week for several charity events.

A popular ambassador

Mrs. Obama’s strong standing in the polls makes it clear why the White House loves having her on the road, flying the administration’s flag at a time when her husband is pressing Congress to pass a series of ambitious legislative proposals.

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A new public opinion survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, released Thursday, shows Mrs. Obama is even more popular than her husband. More than seven-in-ten Americans (72 percent) say they have a favorable impression of Barack Obama, while 25 percent have an unfavorable opinion, virtually unchanged from April, Pew reports.

Mrs. Obama has higher favorability ratings and lower unfavorability marks than her husband. Some 76 percent of those polled have a favorable view of the first lady, while 14 percent have an unfavorable impression.

Bipartisan appeal

The first lady appeals to more than just Democrats. As was the case in April when the last Pew survey was conducted, a majority of Republicans (59 percent) say they have a favorable opinion of Mrs. Obama. Among independents, 73 percent have a favorable view of her. Not surprisingly, some 92 percent of Democrats like her.

The White House announced Thursday that Mrs. Obama will join California’s first lady Maria Shriver in San Francisco to kick off the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service. The high profile duo will make brief remarks and work on a community playground service project with volunteers at a mid-day event at Bret Harte Elementary School in San Francisco.

A favorite theme

While in San Francisco, Mrs. Obama also will give the keynote address at the volunteering and service conference, hosted by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Points of Light Institute. The gathering is expected to attract thousands of community service volunteers from across the country. Mrs. Obama has made promoting community service one of her themes in the White House.

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