ATLANTA (CNN) — Melania Trump is not only more popular than her husband, she has experienced a major surge in popularity over the last several months, according to a new CNN poll.
Forty four percent of respondents say they had a favorable opinion of Melania, while 35 percent had an unfavorable view. President Donald Trump, by contrast, has a 41 percent favorable/57 percent unfavorable rating.
Melania is the only one of the four Trump family members tested in the poll with a net positive favorable score. Ivanka Trump is at 41 percent favorable/41 percent unfavorable, while her husband, Jared Kushner, is far less well-regarded — 20 percent favorable as compared to 39 percent unfavorable.
The trend line in the poll also bodes well for Melania Trump. In February, just 24 percent of people had a favorable view of her, while 31 percent saw her in an unfavorable light. Almost one in four at that point had never heard of her; another 21 percent had no opinion of her.
In this latest CNN poll, the “never heard” of number is down to just 4 percent — which tells you that as Melania gets better known, she gets better liked. That’s the opposite of how public opinion moves for most politicians; the more people get to see/know them, the less they like what they see. Melania is, of course, not a politician. (More on that below.)
Digging into Melania’s poll numbers, the first thing that jumps off the page is the major gender gap in them. Among men, survey respondents were 21 points more likely to view her favorably, while women who answered were two points more likely to view the first lady unfavorably.
As CNN’s Kate Bennett presciently wrote last weekend:
“Melania Trump’s time as first lady has been punctuated by her quiet nature and wardrobe choices that get the town talking. But after a low-key summer, it looks like the first lady’s fall will usher in a new phase of public life — one in which she emerges more and likely formally adopts an East Wing agenda.”
Her increased policy profile also coincided with a stepped-up public profile — due to a series of hurricanes that had her traveling with her husband to the disaster areas to lend a hand.
Donald Trump, for one, seems to understand that his wife is a major asset to his still-struggling political fortunes.
“I’m going turn it over to the star of the Trump family,” Trump said while introducing his wife at a recent White House Historical Association dinner. “They love her out there. We walked all over Florida, we walked all over Texas, and they’re loving Melania.”
The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.