Michelle Obama 'warmest' US politician
Washington - First Lady Michelle Obama on Monday topped a new poll purporting to show how warmly Americans regard their leaders, besting even her husband President Barack Obama.
Mrs Obama scored a chart-topping "warmth rating" of 60.1°, 3° hotter than the president, who came in fourth place in the Quinnipiac University "feeling thermometer" with 56.5°.
The survey asked voters to rate leaders from O to 100° on the "feeling thermometer" with the highest numbers reflecting the warmest feelings.
At 59.2°, former president Bill Clinton came in second place on the thermometer, while New Jersey's popular Republican governor Christopher Christie, virtually unknown on the national level one year ago, was third with 57°.
Christie "has clearly made a positive impression on the American people," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The New Jersey governor has ruled out running for the 2012 presidential nomination, despite being heavily recruited to toss his hat into the ring.
"It is important to remember that this measure is not any kind of presidential trial heat, but it does reflect how voters feel about national figures, including politicians," Brown said.
Former New York mayor Rudolph Giulani came in fifth place with 52.3°, followed by possible Republican presidential candidate Mick Huckabee with 51.8° and current Republican House Speaker, John Boehner with 51.1°.
Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who now is the Democratic leader in the Republican-controlled chamber came bottom of the poll with 32.9°, below Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who ranked third from the bottom with just 38.2°.
The survey taken between February 21-28 Quinnipiac University polled 1 887 registered voters, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.