First lady Michelle Obama has received a glowing 71 percent favorable rating from respondents to a new CNN poll of 1,015 Americans. The survey, conducted between April 13 and 15, gives insight into public opinions about President Obama and the first lady compared to Mitt and Ann Romney.

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Mitt Romney, who effectively became the GOP’s leading presidential candidate when Rick Santorum left the race, received a favorable rating from 44 percent of respondents — just edging out the 43 percent with an unfavorable view of him.

By comparison, President Obama has garnered a favorable rating of 56 percent. The “favorable” rating reflects how the public feels about the candidate as a person. The “approval” rating reflects feelings about job performance. For this latter category, the president garnered a lower rating of 49 percent.

A whopping 48 percent of those polled stated that they disapprove of the way President Obama is handling his job duties.

Ann Romney, wife of the GOP hopeful, is by contrast “unfamiliar to roughly four in ten Americans, but her favorable rating outweighs her unfavorables by a two-to-one margin,” according to CNN. In other words, she did not make much of an impression on those polled, despite being at the center of a fresh political controversy.

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The announcement of these poll results comes on the heels of last week’s tiff in which Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen stated that Ann Romney has “never worked a day in her life,” implying that she cannot help her husband understand the policy concerns of average mothers. Mitt had said on the campaign trail that he consulted his wife for advice on women’s issues.

Ann Romney “was forced to defend her decision to raise her five children rather than go to work,” the Daily Mail reports.

Many supporters came to her aid, including President and Mrs. Obama. The first lady even tweeted, “Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected,” in response to Rosen’s insinuation that being a homemaker is not real work.

Michelle Obama received a very low unfavorable rating of 22 percent in the CNN poll. With her classy ability to champion her rival Ann Romney, among many laudable qualities, it is easy to understand why.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb