First lady Melania Trump has increased in popularity since her husband, President Donald Trump, was sworn into office in January 2017, according to a newly released poll.
While the majority of Americans continue to view the president unfavorably, the first lady's favorable rating has increased by 17 percentage points since January 2017, according to a Gallup poll showing data from Dec. 4 to Dec. 11, 2017.
In a previous poll taken between Jan. 4 to Jan. 11, 2017, before Donald Trump entered office, Melania Trump's favorable rating was 37 percent, the same as her unfavorable rating, with 26 percent not having an opinion.
In the latest poll, the first lady commanded a 54 percent favorable rating, while her unfavorable rating had decreased to 33 percent. In the newer poll, 13 percent had no opinion of the first lady.
The new poll's findings are consistent with results for previous first ladies, including Laura Bush and Michelle Obama, who were also more popular than their husbands. According to Gallup, the disparity in popularity between a president and first lady may be because a first lady's role is often less political and divisive than the president's job.
Former first lady Hillary Clinton had an average of one point lower favorability than President Bill Clinton, breaking with the trend of other recent first ladies.
Women and those who identify as Democrats are also reported to find Melania Trump significantly more favorably than her husband. Fifty-five percent of women view Melania Trump favorably compared to only 33 percent who view Donald Trump favorably, and 35 percent of Democrats find the first lady favorable, compared with just 8 percent who find the president favorable.
Melania Trump has focused largely on the ceremonial role of the first lady during her initial months in the White House, rather than focusing on policy or political advocacy, according to The Washington Post. The first lady has yet to add a policy director to her staff, though she is expected to add one soon.
"She is a ceremonial first lady," said Rider University professor Myra Gutin, who wrote a book on modern first ladies, "The President's Partner."
"They had the Easter Egg Roll, a Hanukkah party, Christmas parties; she had the congressional spouses over to the White House," said Gutin. "That’s all pro forma ... The advocacy for a project or policy initiative, I still really don't see."
Previous first ladies have launched programs and initiatives, including Laura Bush's advocacy for promoting literacy, and Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" program intended to reduce the childhood obesity rate.
Melania Trump has previously expressed an interest in reducing bullying among children, including giving a speech related to the subject at a luncheon for the spouses of world leaders at the September United Nations General Assembly, though she has yet to outline specific policy suggestions or programs.
"No child should ever feel hungry, stalked, frightened, terrorized, bullied, isolated or afraid, with nowhere to turn," said the first lady. "We must teach each child the values of empathy... kindness, mindfulness, integrity and leadership, which can only be taught by example."