Who Was Better: Michelle Obama or Ann Romney?

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Sept. 5 2012 3:05 PM

Who Was Better: Michelle Obama or Ann Romney?

The Slate/SurveyMonkey overnight survey gets a quick read on what voters thought of the first lady’s speech and how it measured up against Ann Romney’s tuna fish sandwiches.

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First Lady Michelle Obama during her DNC speech in Charlotte, N.C.

Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages

Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the Democratic National Convention.

Michelle Obama owned the first night of the Democratic National Convention. The first lady deftly wove together two strands of campaign messaging: that Barack Obama is an empathetic, worthy guy and that his personal qualities spill over into his policies. So we weren’t all that surprised when respondents used the Slate/SurveyMonkey insta-poll from last night as an opportunity to write a love letter to Michelle. We posted our FLOTUS-themed questions directly after her speech and gathered the responses until 9:30 this morning. (Information on respondents is available here. More information about SurveyMonkey Audience is here.) Here’s what people said:

First we asked, “Did First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech make you more or less likely to vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden?” The largest group of survey takers, 35 percent, described themselves as “much more likely” to support the Democratic ticket after hearing the First Lady. That number climbed to 49.4 percent when we factored in respondents who were “slightly more likely” to vote Obama-Biden. While Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Chris Christie all failed to move the needle one way or the other at the Republican National Convention, almost half of the SurveyMonkey audience said Michelle Obama’s speech would positively affect their voting booth behavior.  By contrast, 28 percent reported that they were “neither more likely nor unlikely” to cast a ballot for the Democrats, and 22.6 percent found themselves less likely to support Obama.

120905_POL_SurveyMichelleSpeechChart1

Like it or not, the presidential spouse-off has become a part of the race to the White House, and many viewers were implicitly comparing Michelle Obama’s address with Ann Romney’s from the previous week. We wanted to drag their impressions into the daylight with a second question: “Which candidate’s spouse do you believe delivered the better speech—Michelle Obama or Ann Romney?” In the head-to-head matchup, Michelle could not be beat: Just over 55 percent of respondents handed the speechifying laurels to Obama, while around 30 percent chose Romney and 14.6 percent were undecided.

So far no one—from either convention—has performed as well from the podium as Michelle Obama. Next up: Bill Clinton.

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Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer. 

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