Additionally, 36% of those polled found her unfavorable, a 6-point increase since October.
The 11-point drop-off is notable for Trump, who has for most of 2018 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%, public opinion of the first lady has varied.
Melania Trump’s popularity peaked in early May of this year at 57%, following her first official State Dinner in late April, a public coming-out of sorts for the extremely private first lady. It was also on the heels of Trump’s solo trip to Houston, Texas, to attend the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush, where she posed, smiling, for a photograph with living former presidents and first ladies, many of whom have icy relationships with her husband.
A June survey, taken weeks after the announcement of her “Be Best” initiative and her subsequent hospitalization for a kidney procedure, which kept her out of the public eye for almost three weeks, Trump maintained strong favorable ratings at 51%.
This most recent poll 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%, her unfavorable at 35% – 23% had no opinion of her at all.
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.
While the drop occurs across the board, it is bigger among the President’s detractors. She is down 6 points among those who approve of the job her husband is doing as President, yet she’s down 11 percentage points among those who disapprove. She has lost five points among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, but 13 points among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.
The biggest decrease for Melania Trump is among liberals and white college-graduates – down 17 percentage points each.
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 she was also criticized after an October ABC News interview when she said women who accuse men of sexual misconduct must have “hard evidence.” She did say she supports women who say they have experienced sexual abuse.
She also made headlines for claiming: “I could say that I’m the most bullied person in the world.”
Melania Trump weighed in on immigration during the interview, as well, saying she was “blindsided” by the administration policy separating children from their families at the border.
The poll was conducted for CNN via telephone by SSRS, an independent research company. Interviews were conducted from December 6-9 among a sample of 1,015 respondents.