Ann Romney's Popularity Surges in New ABC News/Washington Post Poll

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Now a known quantity, Ann Romney's popularity is surging, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.

Romney's favorability ratings jumped 12 percentage points between April and October, bringing her near the popularity of first lady Michelle Obama.

The new poll comes on the heels of her highly regarded speech at the Republican National Convention and a slew of high profile appearances since her husband Mitt Romney cinched the Republican presidential nomination in April.

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Though Romney accompanied her husband on the campaign trail during his 2008 run for the Republican presidential nomination, she was relatively unknown to voters back in April 2012. Then, 30 percent said they had not made up their minds about her.

In nearly six months, that number has nearly dropped in half.

The findings confirm a long-standing truth in American presidential politics: spouses have generally fared far better than their husbands in personal popularity.

Michelle Obama's popularity is on par with that of Barbara Bush (73 percent) and Laura Bush (66 percent) during their husband's re-election campaigns. And it surpasses Hillary Clinton's 47 percent approval rating in 1996.

Ann Romney also does well stacked up against her peers. Cindy McCain enjoyed a 47 percent approval rating when she became relatively well know; Tipper Gore got the support of 57 percent of registered voters; and Elizabeth Dole had a 51 percent approval rating.

While the approval ratings of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are 55 percent and 47 percent respectively among registered voters, their wives are consolidating an impressive level of support among a broad spectrum of Americans.

Michelle Obama's 69 percent approval rating is unchanged from earlier this year. And that sky-high number isn't the best she's seen. Her favorability ratings hit 76 percent in March 2009.

As first lady, Obama has pursued a relatively controversy-free agenda aimed at reducing childhood obesity and supporting military families. Those initiatives have made her a staple of daytime television. She has made appearances on "The View," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "The Rachael Ray Show" and late night television to boost her projects and her husband's campaign.

Ann Romney has kept a lower profile, but has emerged as one of her husband's strongest surrogates.

In recent weeks, Romney has appeared on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," and after the Republican National Convention, she made the rounds on morning television touting her husband's acceptance speech. Romney is scheduled to guest-host "Good Morning America" on Wednesday.