Poll: 79% approve of Michelle Obama We'll be writing in Friday's paper about a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll marking the approach of President Obama's first 100 days. How do Americans think he's doing? First, though, USA TODAY's Susan Page takes a look at the remarkable ratings that first lady Michelle Obama is scoring. In the survey, taken Monday and Tuesday, 79% say they approve of the way she is handling the job of first lady. Just 8% disapprove. That's higher than her husband's approval rating, which was 64% approve-28% disapprove in the Gallup Poll posted Wednesday. Asked about her stronger showing, Obama adviser David Axelrod joked in an interview, "Fortunately, she's agreed not to run against us." While the president's rating shows a sharp partisan divide -- Democrats overwhelmingly approve but most Republicans don't -- Michelle Obama's appeal crosses party lines. Almost every Democrat expresses approval, 94%-1%. Even among Republicans, her approval rating is a muscular 64%-17%. Michelle Obama's rating isn't a record high for a president's wife, but it's close. The highest approval rating since Franklin Roosevelt's administration was for Laura Bush in January 2005, as her husband was being sworn in for his second term. Then, 85% said she was doing a good job. And in February 1999, Hillary Rodham Clinton -- now the secretary of State, then on her way to being elected as a New York senator -- had an approval rating of 80%. Most first ladies can only dream of reaching that sort of territory. Keep in mind that this question has only rarely been asked about first ladies. When it has, here are the top scores of Michelle Obama's predecessors: Nancy Reagan, 58% in April 1987; Rosalynn Carter, 59% in August 1979; Pat Nixon, 54% in June 1969; and Eleanor Roosevelt, 68% in February 1940.