News & Politics

Poll: Melania Trump Leaves White House as Least Popular First Lady Ever

It seems Donald isn't the only Trump to have grown less popular recently.

Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks.

After the U.S. Capital was attacked by a pro-Trump mob of would-be insurrectionists, public opinion of the soon-to-be-ex president has plunged. The Pew Research Center reported last week that Trump’s approval rating has fallen to 29 percent—that’s the lowest point in his four years in Washington. But as it turns out, the president isn’t the only Trump to earn the public’s disapproval.

A new CNN/SSRS poll has found that Melania Trump is departing the White House as the least popular first lady at this point in the presidency since such surveys have been conducted.

The poll puts Melania Trump’s favorability rating at 42 percent and her unfavorability rating at 47 percent. The first lady’s popularity has fluctuated over the past four years; her unfavorability rating hit its lowest point, 27 percent, in May. But her most recent, 47 percent unfavorability rating is the highest of her time in Washington.

For comparison, the average of the final polls that surveyed responds about first ladies over the last eight administrations prior to Trump’s is a 71 percent favorability rating and a 21 percent unfavorability rating, according to CNN.

The only other first lady to approach Melania Trump’s unpopularity was Hillary Clinton, who had a favorability rating of 52 percent and an unfavorable rating of 39 percent in a January 2001 poll, according to CNN.

But despite that similarity, the contrast between the two women is also telling. Unlike Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, or many other first ladies, Melania Trump never became a cultural icon, someone to be loved and emulated by fans (or, for that matter, cast as evil incarnate by foes). Though others in the Trump family, like Don Junior or Ivanka, cultivated semi-independent public images within the Trump universe, Melania never seemed to develop her own public tribe—an odd thing given her glamorous appearance, inscrutable visage, and membership in such an elaborately branded family. It’s likely her haters can’t point to any specific sin—and her admirers can’t point to any specific demerit.



Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.