Melania Trump Less Influential in Campaign Than Jill Biden: Poll

Americans believe first lady Jill Biden is more influential in her husband’s presidential campaign than former first lady Melania Trump is in her husband’s, according to a new poll.

Former President Donald Trump is expected to secure his party’s nomination next week at the Republican National Convention (RNC), while the Democratic National Convention (DNC) is set for August as Biden has rejected calls from some in his party to withdraw from the race.

The poll, which provides insight into how Americans view the current and former first ladies ahead of the 2024 presidential election, was conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies ( on behalf of Newsweek. It surveyed 1,500 eligible voters in the U.S. on July 8. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.53 percentage points.

Jill Biden more influential Melania Trump: Poll
Former first lady Melania Trump attends an event in Washington, D.C., on September 3, 2020. First Lady Jill Biden delivers remarks during an event at the White House on April 27, 2022, in Washington, D.C….

Drew Angerer/Getty Images; Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The poll asked respondents how important Jill Biden and Melania Trump are “in the decision-making around” their husband’s campaigns. Fifty-two percent of respondents said that Jill Biden is either “very” or “fairly” important to decision-making in the Biden campaign, while only 13 percent said they believed she is “not at all important” in decision making.

Meanwhile, 32 percent said they believe Melania Trump is “very” or “fairly” important to decision making in the Trump campaign, with 33 percent saying they do not believe she is important to decision making.

Katherine Jellison, a professor at Ohio University who is an expert on first ladies, told Newsweek on Thursday that the poll results aren’t surprising.

“Jill Biden has been a higher-profile first lady and politician’s spouse than Melania Trump ever was, and Dr. Biden is seemingly more enthusiastic about playing both of those roles than Mrs. Trump,” she said.

She noted that first ladies can have “a great deal of influence on campaign decisions.”
“Eleanor Roosevelt encouraged her husband [Franklin Roosevelt] to run for an unprecedented fourth term,” she added.

“Lady Bird Johnson helped her husband [Lyndon Johnson] make the decision to pull out of the 1968 race. And Hillary Clinton stood by her husband [Bill Clinton] and vouched for his character when critics called for him to drop out of the race in 1992 over accusations of his marital infidelity.”

Newsweek reached out to the Biden and Trump campaigns for comment via email.

Sixty-three percent of Biden 2020 voters and 53 percent of Trump 2020 voters said they believe Jill Biden is either “fairly” or “very” important in the campaign’s decision making.

Meanwhile, 27 percent of Biden 2020 voters and 44 percent of Trump 2020 voters said they believe Melania Trump is either “fairly” or “very” important in the Trump campaign’s decision making.

With less than four months until Election Day, Melania Trump has garnered attention for being less involved in the campaign than in 2016 or 2020. She has largely avoided public events and media appearances, instead hosting a handful of private fundraisers.

She has held two fundraisers for the Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative group that advocates for LGBTQ+ rights. In the most recent fundraiser in July, she raised $1.4 million for the group.

Jill Biden has taken a different approach, more frequently appearing at campaign events. She has launched an outreach effort to target members of the U.S. military, which could be a key voting group in the 2024 election. She has also had a more public presence in the media, recently appearing in Vogue magazine.

Political analysts have suggested that she might be one of the few people who could convince her husband to step aside from the race amid concerns about his age following his performance in the debate against Trump last month.

However, she has continued to voice support for his reelection bid, telling Vogue this month that the campaign “will not let those 90 minutes define the four years he’s been president.”