Who is the most popular first lady? Poll reveals America's favorite presidential spouse

While each of America's first ladies has brought something unique to their White House role, the general U.S. public has found some more favorable than others.

According to a series of Gallup polls dating back to 1969, former president George W. Bush's wife, Laura Bush, has received the highest approval ratings as first lady in recent U.S. history.

When asked how they felt the Texas native was handling her job as the first lady, Americans gave Laura Bush historically high approval ratings over the course of three years -- with a 74 percent approval rating in 2003, and 85 percent and 82 percent ratings in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

RELATED: First ladies through the years

First ladies through the years
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First ladies through the years

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: First Lady Hillary Clinton (R) watches over as 12-year-old Chevon Perry (L) works on a lesson at P.S. 115 Elementary School 26 January 1993. Clinton made her first trip as first lady to New York to receive an award for her service to children. (Photo credit should read TIM CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Clinton is not only open about family issues, but health as well. 

WASHINGTON, : Future US First Lady Laura Bush (C) hugs a student at Seaton Elementary School 19 January, 2001, in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Bush visited the school with author Angela Shelf-Medearis who read from some of her books. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

She pioneered education reforms in the United States. 

Dressed in formal wear for a state dinner, President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan await the arrival of a guest at the North Portico entrance to the White House.

Reagan focused on solving the drug epidemic and alcohol abuse. 

(Original Caption) This is the official portrait of the First Lady, Rosalynn Carter, taken on February 18, 1977, in the Vermeil Room of the White House.

She was a huge influence on her husband's policies, sat in on meetings, and advocated for mental health. 

circa 1975: Former First Lady, Elizabeth 'Betty ' Ford, stands outdoors behind microphones. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images).

Betty was involved in opening discussion on mental health, equal rights and legalizing abortion. A cancer survivor, she was open about speaking about her experiences. 

A portrait of the American Second Lady Thelma Catherine Ryan 'Pat' Nixon (1912 - 1993), United States, mid-20th century. Pat Nixon, wife of Richard Nixon, later served as First Lady when her husband became the thirty-seventh President of the United States. (Photo by Bachrach/Getty Images)

She was notable for her work in a number of volunteer causes and charities, and added nearly 600 paintings to the White House. 

Portrait of American First Lady Lady Bird Johnson (born Claudia Alta Taylor, 1912 - 2007) as she poses in a garden, 1963. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

Unlike other first ladies, she addressed Congress on a number of issues. 

1961: EXCLUSIVE First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) sits in the back seat of a car and smiles while a photographer takes her picture, Palm Beach, Florida. 

She was known for her fashion, language skills and media presence. Jackie continued her advocacy after her husband's assassination. 

circa 1930: Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower (1896 - 1979), wife of American president Dwight D Eisenhower. She was a popular First Lady and an accomplished hostess at the White House. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
circa 1950: Portrait of Bess Truman (1885-1982), First Lady of the United States and wife of Democratic President Harry Truman. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images). She took on her new role after Roosevelt was killed, was opinionated and kept out of the social eye. 
Portrait of former First Lady Louise Henry Hoover (1874 - 1944) dressed as President of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Washington, D.C., 1924. (Photo by Bachrach/Getty Images)
First Lady Grace Goodhue Coolidge (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images). She was voted one of America's greatest living women and was popular for her social events. 
(Original Caption) Mrs. Harding Plants a tree in her backyard. The first lady of the land, recently received from a number of prominent men of Washington, a magnolia tree. The photo shows her after she had planted the tree in the yard of the White House.

circa 1912: Mrs Ellen Wilson (nee Axson, 1860 - 1914), the first wife of the 28th American President Woodrow Wilson. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images). 

When her husband suffered a stroke, she essentially took over all governmental matters in his second term. 

U.S. First Lady Edith Roosevelt (1861 - 1948) sits at her desk in the second floor private library of the White House, 1903. She was the second wife of president Theodore Roosevelt. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

She was known for her gentle spirit and good judgement, was considered a scholarly reader and dedicated her life to helping the poor. 

First Lady Ida Saxon McKinley and President William McKinley (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
1889: Caroline Lavinia Scott Harrison (1832 - 1892), the first wife of American president Benjamin Harrison. She was an accomplished pianist, artist and dancer, and hosted many elegant parties before dying of tuberculosis in the White House. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

First Lady Frances Folsom Cleveland (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

She strived to increase employment and education for women.

Portrait of First Lady Ellen Herndon Arthur (1837 - 1880), mid 19th century. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images). She died before her husband took office. 

Wife of President James A. Garfield. (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

An intellectual, she was involved in the literary society, and strived to preserve her husband's career and reputation.

Mrs Rutherford B. Hayes, wife of President Hayes. Lucy Ware Webb Hayes was First Lady of the United States and is often known as 'Lemonade Lucy' due to her support of the Temperance Movement. 
 Mrs. Julia Dent Grant. Photo taken while Pres. Grant was in the White House, in 1876 was a notable host. 
Engraving from 1886 featuring Eliza McCardle Johnson who was the wife of the American President Andrew Johnson. She was educated, brought her entire family into the White House, and was a gracious host.
Portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln, who was distraught at her son's premature death for most of the presidency. 
Abigail Powers Fillmore, wife of President Willard Fillmore was notable for bringing music and art into the White House with music rooms. She also added to the library. 
This is a portrait of Margaret Smith Taylor, the wife of the 12th President of the United States, Zachary Taylor.

Engraving from 1886 featuring Sarah Childress Polk who was the wife of the American President James K. Polk.

She was incredibly well educated, wrote speeches and correspondences for her husband. 

Julia Gardiner Tyler, Wife Of Pres. John Tyler was one of the most graceful First Ladies and was an accomplished poet.

She was a dedicated volunteer for the Confederacy

Engraving from 1886 featuring Letitia Christian Tyler who was the wife of the American President, John Tyler. 
Engraving from 1886 featuring Rachel Donelson Robards Jackson who was the wife of the American President Andrew Jackson. She died before he was inaugurated. She took in poor family members, adopted her nephews and raised them. 
'This vintage engraving depicts the portrait First Lady Louisa Catherine Adams (1775 - 1852), wife of US President John Quincy Adams and born Louisa Catherine Johnson. Born in London, she was the only foreign-born First Lady. 
Dolley Madison was one of the most loved first ladies, and saved the country's national treasures in the War of 1812. 
Engraving from 1886 featuring Martha Jefferson who was the wife of the American President, Thomas Jefferson. However, she did not live to see her husband become president. 

Engraving from 1885 featuring Abigail Adams who was the First Lady of the United States and married to the 2nd President of the United States, John Adams. She lived from 1744 until 1818.

She was one of the most 'informed' first ladies, and despite not formally schooled. 

Unlike most women at the time, Martha Washington was literate. She also liberated her husband's slaves after he died.

Laura Bush was a prominent White House figure during her Washington D.C. tenure. As her husband worked to pass his "No Child Left Behind" legislation, Laura Bush also focused her first lady efforts on education. In 2001, she partnered with the Library of Congress in launching the annual National Book Festival -- an annual literary event that brings together best-selling authors and thousands of book fans for author talks, panel discussions, book signings and other activities. Bush also advocated for salary increases and training bumps for Head Start programs, when she testified before the Senate Committee on Education in 2002.

SEE ALSO: Child refuses to hug Melania Trump when she visits hospital

America's newest first lady, Melania Trump, is perhaps the most unique president's wife to ever hold the position. The Slovenian born former model married President Trump in 2005, and later had their now 10-year-old son, Barron.

Laura Bush's 85 percent rating in 2005 remains the highest in the poll's history. Former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama also garnered American favor during their respective White House tenures -- with Clinton receiving an 80 percent approval rating in February of 1999 and Michelle Obama receiving a 79 percent rating in April of 2009.

A poll question also asked people if they would personally like to see Laura Bush run for Senate, to which 40 percent answered that they would like to see her run, while a majority 53 percent said they would not like to see her campaign for that office.

Both Barbara Bush and Betty Ford (wives of former presidents George H. W. Bush and Gerald R. Ford) were notably not included in these Gallup polls.

RELATED: First Family: Meet Melania Trump

First Family: Meet Melania Trump
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First Family: Meet Melania Trump

Born Melanija Knavs

Originally Melanija Knavs, Melania Trump was born April 20, 1970 in Novo Mesto, Slovenia. Born to a car dealer and children's clothing designer, she grew up in a modest home in a community then part of communist Yugoslavia. Melania has a younger sister and older half brother, whom her father had from a previous relationship.

Pictured: Taken in 1977, this image shows Melania, 7, (second from the right) attending a fashion review at the textile company where her mother was employed.

Began modeling at age 16. 

In her early days of modeling, Trump worked in Milan and Paris, before moving to New York in 1996.

Pictured: Melania Knauss during Fred Trump's Funeral at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City.

The Clintons attended their wedding.

In 2005, Melania and Donald married in a Palm Beach, Florida ceremony. Shaquille O'Neal, Kelly Ripa, Barbara Walters, Matt Lauer, Katie Couric and both President Bill Clinton and then-U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton were in attendance.

Pictured: Donald and Melania sit courtside before a 2001 Toronto Raptors game.

Melania and Donald have a son, Barron.

On March 20, 2006, Melania gave birth to her and Donald's son, Barron William Trump. He is often referred to as "The Little Donald."

Donald holds a replica of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as Melania holds their son Barron in Los Angeles in 2007.

She spoke at the Republican National Convention.

On July 18, Melania addressed delegates on the first day of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The soon-to-be first lady was quickly criticized, though, when it became clear parts of her speech were identical to that of First lady Michelle Obama in 2008.

She cares about bullying.

On November 3, Melania Trump gave her first solo campaign speech for her husband in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, saying she would work to combat bullying as first lady. "Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers," she said, noting that kids are often hurt when they are "made to feel less in looks or intelligence."

She said she wants to be "true to herself" as first lady.

On November 11, President-elect Trump and his family -- including Melania -- appeared on 60 Minutes in their first post-election television interview. In the interview, Melania opened up to Lesley Stahl about staying true to herself, meeting Michelle Obama at the White House and how she hopes to raise son, Barron, as they transition to life as the first family.

Melania and Barron will stay in New York for the time being.

On November 20, Trump transition team sources said that Melania and 10-year-old son, Barron, are expected to spend most of their time in New York at least through spring of 2017. The team offered keeping Barron in his Upper West Side private school as reasoning for their staying in New York.


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