Melania Trump has experienced a huge surge in popularity in the last several months and now has approval ratings that are significantly higher than her husband, President Donald Trump.
This is according to CNN, whose new poll indicated that:
Forty four percent of respondents say they had a favorable opinion of Melania, while 35% had an unfavorable view. President Donald Trump, by contrast, has a 41% favorable/57% unfavorable rating. Melania is the only one of the four Trump family members tested in the poll with a net positive favorable score. Ivanka Trump is at 41% favorable/41% unfavorable, while her husband, Jared Kushner, is far less well-regarded — 20% favorable as compared to 39% unfavorable.
Perhaps the unfavorable percentages in this poll are even more telling, with Melania having a 35% unfavorable rating while Donald Trump has a 57% unfavorable rating. In a similar poll conducted in February, Melania Trump had only a 21% favorable rating and more than a fourth of poll respondents indicated they had never heard of her at that time, so her numbers are definitely on the upswing. In comparing the poll numbers, as Melania Trump gets more well-known, she is getting more well-liked, a trend that is the opposite of what happens with most figures in the political arena.
Certainly Melania Trump has been one of the least publicly present first ladies in recent times and avoids speaking on controversial issues. Why a first lady may enjoy greater popularity than her husband has both a general reason inherent in the role of first lady and some specific reasons that are unique to the Trumps. The general reason is that first ladies are not officially involved in policy-making and do not have to express a side on controversial issues, unlike the President. This general reason likely contributed to Michelle Obama having greater popularity than President Barack Obama and Laura Bush having greater popularity than President George W. Bush. This general reason may be something that President Trump might expect.
But the Trump-specific reason why Melania Trump is more popular than her husband is that it often appears that she herself doesn’t actually like President Trump. She didn’t live with the President in the White House until May of this year. She cited wanting to stay with their son in New York so he could finish out his school year there, but she wasn’t present in Washington, D.C., on the weekends during that time period either. And of course there are the famous incidents of Melania Trump swatting away her husband’s hand when Donald Trump attempted to hold hands with her. The two Trumps often seem to be living separate lives.
A large majority of the country does not like President Trump and we may be growing to like Melania Trump more because we have the sense that she doesn’t really like him either. And that has to be making President Trump brighter orange with anger.