The Obama who has had the most dizzying campaign schedule isn’t the one whose policies voters will judge on Tuesday. While President Barack Obama has largely helped Democratic candidates behind the scenes this midterm election by raising money for them, his wife, Michelle Obama, was on the campaign trail in Iowa, Florida, Wisconsin, Maine and other states trying to elect Democrats.
In all, Michelle Obama has been on a whirlwind tour of the country since September, appearing roughly 40 times with Democratic candidates, while the president only started ramping up his campaign schedule last week. This is because President Obama can best help Democratic candidates by not being seen with them. Only 41 percent of Americans approve of the president’s job, while 54 percent disapprove of it.
Michelle Obama is much more popular. While her popularity is not polled as regularly as the president’s, 62 percent of respondents in a July Pew Research Center poll said they had a favorable view of the first lady, while only 40 percent said they felt the same about the president at the time.
"She just tells a different story, because she's not a politician and she's not an elected official," Jim Demers, a Democratic lobbyist, told the Wall Street Journal.
Michelle Obama has appeared with Democratic Senate and gubernatorial candidates in Maryland, Connecticut, Iowa, Florida, Wisconsin, Maine and other states. Her husband has also been on the campaign trail in Wisconsin, Michigan and New England -- blue states that supported both of his presidential elections in 2008 and 2012.
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said Michelle Obama isn’t the divisive political figure that her husband is. “There is no backlash at all when she campaigns for you,” Lake told the Washington Post. “The president is very popular with turnout audiences but often less popular with independent voters, and with her, there is no downside to having her and lots and lots of upside.”