Majority of Americans Now View Melania Trump Favorably

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The FINANCIAL — Melania Trump’s favorable rating has risen 17 percentage points since January to 54% as she has become better known in her role as first lady. In contrast, a majority of Americans continue to view President Donald Trump unfavorably — his current unfavorable rating of 56% is nearly identical to January’s rating of 55%.

In early January before Donald Trump took office, 37% of Americans viewed Melania Trump unfavorably — matching her favorable score — while 26% did not yet have an opinion of her. Now, in Gallup’s first measure of Melania Trump since she became first lady, the percentage with no opinion of her is down to 13%, while her favorable rating is up and her unfavorable rating has dipped slightly to 33%.

Melania Trump’s favorability advantage over Donald Trump in the Dec. 4-11 Gallup poll is consistent with Gallup’s findings that recent first ladies are, on average, more popular than their husbands. This is likely because a first lady’s role is more ceremonial and generally much less divisive than that of the president.

Michelle Obama and Laura Bush outpaced their husbands, holding an average 12-point and 17-point edge in favorability, respectively, over their spouses. Melania Trump’s current 13-point favorability advantage over her husband is roughly in line with those of the last two first ladies. (Hillary Clinton averaged one point lower favorability than Bill Clinton over the course of his presidency.)

Although Melania Trump’s favorable rating has improved, she still rates behind other first ladies at roughly comparable points in time. Michelle Obama (61%), Laura Bush (77%) and Hillary Clinton (58%) all had higher favorable ratings in the fall of their husband’s first year in office than Melania Trump has now, at 54%.

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Women and Democrats View Melania Much More Positively Than Donald

More than eight in 10 Republicans view both the president and first lady favorably, but Democrats are far more likely to feel positively about Melania Trump than Donald Trump (35% vs. 8%, respectively). Independents view the first lady slightly more positively than the president. Women also hold a much more favorable view of the first lady (51%) than the president (33%), while the gap is smaller among men, 57% to 50%.

Bottom Line

Melania Trump, who received some criticism in the early months of her husband’s presidency for, among other things, not living in the White House and staffing her East Wing office unusually slowly, appears to be settling into her role as first lady. Even if she is not quite as popular as other recent first ladies, a majority of Americans now have a positive opinion of her, and like those before her, she is more popular than her husband.

 

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