Traditionally, the role of First Lady falls to the president’s spouse, although there have been several exceptions in American history. Melania Trump’s perceived ambivalence about her role during her husband’s presidency may be one reason Americans are not certain what to expect this time. Only 34% of Americans think Mrs. Trump will be either excellent, 13%, or good, 21%, in the role of First Lady. 30% expect her performance to be fair while 26% believe she will perform poorly. Nine percent are unsure. In contrast, Michelle Obama was better received during her husband’s transition into office in December 2008 when 60% of Americans held high expectations for her.
A partisan divide exists. While 61% of Republicans have a positive outlook toward Mrs. Trump’s time in the White House should she assume an active role, only 34% of independents and 11% of Democrats agree.