According to the latest CNN/SSRS poll, the former first lady ended her term with a 47% unfavorable rating and an approval rating of 42%, which still makes her more popular than her husband, who left office with a 33% approval and 60% disapproval rating, per a Quinnipiac University poll.
“The 47% is the highest unfavorable rating we ever recorded for [Melania] Trump. It’s also amazingly high from a historical perspective,” the CNN report, which was published before the Inauguration of Joe Biden but after Melania’s farewell address, reads.
According to CNN, these numbers are particularly unusual. “Traditionally, first ladies are nearly uniformly admired. The position is unelected and normally uncontroversial,” reporter Harry Enten writes. “It’s hard to be unpopular.”
Maybe not so hard after peddling birtherism conspiracies about Barack Obama, destroying Jackie Kennedy’s rose garden, hosting a photoshoot during the attack on the Capitol, those Christmas recordings, and of course, wearing an “I Really Don’t Care, Do You?” jacket on her way to visit the children separated from their families at the U.S. border. Just a thought.
CNN notes that prior to Melania, the average first lady’s final approval rating was 71% with an unfavorable rating of 21%. “That means the average net popularity rating for these first ladies was +50 points,” the report states. For those who don’t want to do the math, that puts Melania’s net rating at -5 points.
In fact, the second least-popular first lady was Hillary Clinton, who left the White House in 2001 with a net favorability rating of +13 points (52% favorable and 39% unfavorable). Unlike Melania Trump, however, Clinton ran and was elected to the U.S. Senate during her husband’s term, making her a naturally more polarizing figure.