First lady Melania Trump's favorability rating has fallen by double digits, according to the results of a new CNN poll released Thursday.
The survey reveals that the first lady's favorability has fallen by 11 points in just two months – from 54 percent in October down to 43 percent. As CNN's Kate Bennett notes, "The 11-point-drop is notable for Trump, who, for most of 2018, has maintained positive polling numbers, staying in the high-40s to high-50s. However, unlike the numbers of her husband, who has steadily maintained a favorable rating of about 40 percent, public opinion of the first lady has varied."
This most recent survey, Bennett notes, is "still 13 points higher than the first lady's lowest polling numbers, which occurred in January 2017, days prior to her husband's inauguration; at that time, her favorability stood at 36 percent . . . These new numbers reflect Trump maintains her strongest support from older, white, male Republicans and conservatives, while her biggest detractors are women, mainly younger and those who are college-educated."
The survey reveals that the biggest drop for Trump is among liberals and white college-graduates — down 17 percentage points, respectively.
One possible explanation for the latest survey results are Trump's increased public appearances. According to Bennett, "In recent weeks, Trump has been more visible, often appearing side-by-side with the president at events, as well as accompanying him during travel to Argentina for the G20 Summit. The first lady has also been more vocal about policy issues, making longer, more detailed speeches on the opioid epidemic."
But, Melania was also criticized after she addressed the #MeToo movement in an October interview with ABC News after she said that women who accuse men of sexual misconduct need to provide "hard evidence" when coming forward with accusations. At the same time, she asserted that she "stands with women" who claim that they have experienced sexual abuse. Trump also provoked outrage after she claimed that she was "the most bullied person in the world."
In June, Trump's favorability rating took a sharp hit as she came under intense scrutiny for her weak attempt to speak out against her husband's zero-tolerance policy of separating migrant families caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in spite of her attempt to brand herself as an advocate of women and children. (In June, the president signed an executive order reversing his policy of separating families and replacing it with a policy of detaining entire families together, including children, for an indefinite period.)
The CNN poll of 1,015 adults was conducted by SSRS from Dec. 6 to Dec. 9 via telephone. The margin of error for total respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.