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Poll: First lady embraced, president not

Nearly three-quarters have a favorable opinion of Laura Bush

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A survey finds that 73 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of first lady Laura Bush.

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George W. Bush

(CNN) -- Far more Americans think highly of first lady Laura Bush than they think of her husband, a poll released Thursday said.

Fewer than half of Americans say they have a favorable opinion of President Bush and his top aides, about the same number who said that last summer, the poll found.

But nearly three out of four (73 percent) said they have a favorable opinion of Laura Bush, the CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll said. Thirteen percent described their opinion of her as unfavorable. (See how the poll numbers add up)

The telephone poll of 1,003 adult American adults was conducted December 16-18 and has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Asked their opinions of the president, 46 percent said they were favorable, a figure statistically equivalent to the 48 percent who gave that response in a July 25-28 poll.

In the latest survey, Bush earned an unfavorable rating from 53 percent of respondents.

Vice President Dick Cheney earned favorable ratings from 41 percent of respondents and unfavorable ones from 50 percent; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld received favorable ratings from 42 percent of respondents and unfavorable ones from 45 percent.

A CNN/USA Today Gallup Poll, also conducted December 16-18, found Bush's approval rating -- which measures how well the public believes a president is doing his job and is different from his favorability rating -- stood at 41 percent, while more than half, or 56 percent, disapprove of how the president is handling his job. (View the president's approval ratings in 2005)

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