Political News

Melania Trump favorability remains same, according to new poll

Posted September 18, 2020 1:25 p.m. EDT

— First lady Melania Trump's favorability rating remains at 47%, according to a new Gallup poll, and her unfavorable rating increased by seven points, to 43%, following her Republican National Convention speech last month.

The number is the same as it was in an April Gallup poll. The first lady saw her highest favorable rating in October 2018, when a CNN poll tracked her ranking at 54%.

Melania Trump has maintained a low public profile over the last several months, in part, according to her spokeswoman, due to coronavirus restrictions and advised guidelines.

Yet with the presidential election less than two months away, the first lady has yet to make a solo campaign speech outside of her RNC address, which was delivered from the White House Rose Garden.

And unlike her husband and his adult children, the first lady has no planned fundraising or campaign events on her schedule, according to an official with knowledge. Trump in 2016 was also a reluctant campaigner, opting not to canvass the country, choosing instead to remain in New York City, where she at the time said she was primarily focused on the couple's son, Barron Trump, then 10 years old.

Political campaigns often utilize candidate or incumbent spouses as assets on the trail, as they traditionally provide insight into the candidate or offer more personalized accounts of how the spouse is outside of politics.

Laura Bush and Michelle Obama were both effective campaigners on behalf of their husbands, drawing not only thousands of people to their speeches and events, but pulling in millions in fundraising cash.

"The area where Melania Trump can have the most impact with the campaign is with rallying base supporters, whether that's through fundraising appeals or get-out-the-vote appeals in the home stretch," said Kevin Madden, former adviser to the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and George W. Bush. "Every effort to secure the base will be valuable in some of these battleground states that could be close."

Melania Trump did on Thursday visit New Hampshire but she only visited in an official capacity, stopping at a hospital in Concord that specializes in helping babies born with dependencies on opioids. She also visited a fire station in Manchester that helps addicts experiencing overdose or other medical issues related to drug use.

By contrast, Jill Biden, wife of Democratic candidate Joe Biden, has for the last several months been an active campaign surrogate, traveling either in person or virtually attending dozens of events.

Biden's favorable rating in the same Gallup poll is higher than Melania Trump's at 49%, and her unfavorable number is significantly lower than the first lady's, at just 27%.

None of it may matter anyway, Madden said.

"The broader presidential race is being shaped by very big forces at play, with a pandemic, the economic disruption that has resulted from it and social unrest framing the choice between the two candidates," he said. "As a result, even popular surrogates like the first lady, will have a minimal impact on voters and how they view the choice between candidates."

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