Who's the most admired first lady?

Bush and Clinton are tied in a new poll.

But this isn't a survey of a possible 2016 presidential showdown. Instead it's a poll of the most admired first lady.

According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Friday, 27% of Americans say Barbara Bush is the most admired first lady over the past quarter century. Bush, the wife of former President George. H.W. Bush, is tied for the top spot in the survey with Hillary Clinton, who succeeded Bush in the White House as first lady.

The poll indicates current First Lady Michelle Obama is a close third, at 24%, with her predecessor, Laura Bush at 17%.

But the survey suggests large partisan and racial divides.

Forty-two percent of Democrats say Obama is the most admired first lady, with Clinton just three-percentage points behind. Republicans questioned put Barbara Bush on top at 45%, with Laura Bush second at 36%. And independents most admire Barbara Bush (28%) and Clinton (27%).

One-third of white respondents say they admire Barbara Bush, with Clinton second at 24%. Among African-Americans, Michelle Obama (58%) is most admired, with Clinton (30%) a distant second. And among Latinos, Clinton's in first (45%) followed by Obama (29%).

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted April 23-27, with 1,000 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey has an overall sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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