America finds a soft spot for Melania

December 18, 2017

First Lady Melania Trump‘s favorability rating has risen 17 percentage points since last January—up to 54%— as she has become better known in her role as first lady, Gallup reported on December 15.

By contrast, the polling organization said, only 41% of American voters say they like her husband; and that’s a stretch: Many other pollsters have the POTUS’s rating in the mid- and low 30s.

In early January, before the president took office, 37% of Americans viewed Melania Trump unfavorably—matching her favorability score—while 26% did not yet have an opinion of her.

Now, in Gallup’s first measure of the First Lady, the percentage with no opinion of her is down to 13%, while her favorability 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, the pollster said, 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 in favorability than Bill Clinton over the course of his presidency.)

Although Melania Trump’s 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 favorability ratings in the fall of their husband’s first year in office than Melania Trump has now.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted between December 4 and December 11, among a random sample of 1,049 adults, living in all 50 U.S. states.

Research contact:  datainquiry@gallup.com

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