First Lady Candidates Influence On Elections

By
Kelsey Hoak

Dateline
Updated Tue, Oct 2, 2012 10:15 am

Election day is inching closer and voters are sometimes influenced by someone other than the presidential candidates.

Ohio University history professor and women's studies scholar Katherine Jellison has been studying the effects of what she calls first lady candidates.

Jellison says first lady candidates can often times be more popular than the candidate themself and can serve as very effective fundraisers.

Jellison says the wives of presidential candidates can help their spouse during an election.

"Although a first lady cant change the outcome of an election she can certainly help bring more attention to a given candidate during a presidential campaign," says Jellison.

Over the last four years, Jellison has carefully studied First Lady Michelle Obama.

"She's more popular than her husband, all the opinion polls show that. That's not unique to her, many first ladies have been. And she's particularly good at tapping into the pocketbooks and the enthusiasm of female voters," says Jellison.

Michelle Obama is set to visit Ohio on the first day of early voting in the swing state Tuesday.

No word on any planned visits to the state from Republican candidate Mitt Romney's wife, Ann.

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