This Melania Trump Popularity Poll Suggests America's A Bigger Fan Of Her Than The President Himself

ByCaroline Burke

The first lady of the United States may have been keeping a low profile recently, but that doesn't mean her public approval rating has taken a blow. A new Melania Trump popularity poll, run by Quinnipiac University, reveals that the American people like Melania Trump a lot. In fact, they seem to like her more than her husband, President Donald Trump.

In the recent poll, which was released by Quinnipiac on June 6, Melania Trump's approval rating seemed to hover at 49 percent, which was a much higher favorability rating than Vice President Mike Pence, whose approval was around 35 percent, or White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who came in between 30 and 36 percent. As for President Trump, his approval ratings have remained steady in the 40s in recent months, with the Quinnipiac poll rating him at around 40 percent favorability.

But before people are quick to make assumptions about just what that means for Melania or Donald Trump, it might help to know that it's not uncommon for the first lady to have one of the higher favorability ratings of any White House administration. For example, Quinnipiac was quick to draw a comparison to Michelle Obama, who experienced a similar surge in favorability in 2010.

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Still, Melania Trump's recent absence from all public affairs for the last 26 days stirred confusion from the public. The official statement from the White House on May 14 cited "an embolization procedure to treat a benign kidney condition" as the reason for her absence.

She returned to make her first public appearance on June 6, sitting next to her husband at a FEMA headquarters briefing on the upcoming hurricane season, according to CNN. At the conference, Donald Trump reassured reporters that she was fine.

"She went through a little rough patch but she's doing great, and we're very proud of her, she's done a fantastic job as First Lady," Trump said. He then turned to his wife and proceeded to address her popularity directly. "The people love you," Trump said. He then repeated, "The people of our country love you."

Though Melania Trump did not speak at the event, she did nod and smile, and, according to CNN, she seemed to be in "good health." Though she hasn't always taken up a large portion of the spotlight during her time as first lady, Melania Trump has championed initiatives aimed at taking on issues such as cyberbullying in the United States. She formally announced her platform on May 14, which is called the "Be Best" initiative, a comprehensive program that, according to CNN, focuses on three key points: encouraging well-being, fighting opioid abuse, and creating positivity on social media.

At a United Nations Luncheon, Melania Trump reiterated her priorities as First Lady:

Together, we must acknowledge that all too often it is the weakest, most innocent and vulnerable among us — our children — who ultimately suffer the most from the challenges that plague our societies. Whether it is drug addiction, bullying, poverty, disease, trafficking, illiteracy, or hunger, it is the children who are hit first and hardest in any country. And as we all know, the future of every nation rests with the promise of their young people.
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It's also worth nothing that Melania Trump has (perhaps due to the low profile she's worked to keep) caused very few points of conflict or controversy between herself and the American people, unlike her stepdaughter Ivanka Trump, or her stepson Donald Trump Jr., which might account partially for her high favorability rating. Quinnipiac did not provide ratings for Ivanka Trump or Donald Trump Jr., though recent polls have indicated that Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, are increasingly disliked by the American people as time goes on.

According to CNN polling, Ivanka Trump currently rates at 41 percent favorability, with Kushner coming in at 20 percent favorability. The favorability of other Trump siblings has not been conducted recently.

Though Melania Trump's own favorability might be doing fine, there has been significant confusion over where, exactly, she was, despite Donald Trump's insistence that she was recovering from a kidney procedure. According to Newsweek, Donald Trump slammed the theories that she'd potentially left D.C., among other more gruesome hypotheses such as her faking her own death.

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On Wednesday morning, prior to Melania Trump's first public appearance in 26 days, the president tweeted his disgust at anyone who disputed his explanation. "The Fake News Media has been so unfair, and vicious, to my wife and our great First Lady, Melania," Trump tweeted. "During her recovery from surgery they reported everything from near death, to facelift, to left the W.H. (and me) for N.Y. or Virginia, to abuse. All Fake, she is doing really well!"

In the past, Melania Trump has proven to be one of the only people the president has claimed to be more likable than himself. CNN reports that he's even gone so far to call her "the star of the Trump family." That recent poll shows it might just be true.