Courtesy of GALLUP, Jeffrey M. Jones, December 27, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans once again are most likely to name Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as the man and woman living anywhere in the world they admire most, as they have for the past 10 years. The pair retain their titles this year, although by much narrower margins than in the past. Obama edges out Donald Trump, 17% to 14%, while Clinton edges out Michelle Obama, 9% to 7%.
|Most Admired Man|
|Rev. Billy Graham||2||2||1||1||2|
|The Dalai Lama||*||*||1||1||1|
|Most Admired Woman|
|Queen Elizabeth II||1||1||2||2||2|
|Duchess Kate Middleton||1||2||*||1||1|
|Note: Combined first and second mentions; Rankings are based on total number of responses; *Less than 0.5%|
|Gallup, Dec. 4-11, 2017|
The 2017 survey marks the 16th consecutive year Clinton has been the most admired woman. She has held the title 22 times in total, more than anyone else. Eleanor Roosevelt is second with 13 wins. Obama has now been named the most admired man 10 times, trailing only Dwight Eisenhower, who earned the distinction 12 times. Obama won all eight years he was president, plus 2008 — the year he was first elected — and this year, his first as a former president.
But Clinton’s and Obama’s standings this year are more tenuous than in the past. The 9% who name Clinton is the lowest percentage she has received since 2002, when 7% named her in another close first-place finish. Clinton won the title this year in the same poll she registered a personal low favorable rating. This indicates she remains top of mind for enough people who like her to be named more than any other woman in response to the open-ended question, finishing ahead of some women who may be better liked overall but are not as prominent in people’s minds.
The percentage of adults naming Obama as the most admired man is down from 22% last year, but he has been at or near 17% in several other years.
A quarter of Americans cannot name a man or a woman they admire most. Nine percent name a relative or friend as the most admired man, and 13% do so for the most admired woman.
Trump One of Small Number of Incumbent Presidents Not to Win Distinction
Gallup has asked the most admired man question 71 times since 1946 — all but in 1976. The incumbent president has won 58 of those times. Previous incumbent presidents who did not finish first include Harry Truman in 1946-1947 and 1950-1952, Lyndon Johnson in 1967-1968, Richard Nixon in 1973, Gerald Ford in 1974-1975, Jimmy Carter in 1980, and George W. Bush in 2008. All but Truman in 1947 and Ford in 1974 had job approval ratings well below 50%, like Trump.
As would be expected for a Republican president, Trump wins handily among Republicans — 35% name him as the man they admire most, with only 1% naming Obama. In contrast, Obama leads among Democrats, with 39% mentioning him and 3% Trump. Independents are slightly more likely to name Obama (12%) than Trump (9%).
After Trump and Obama, the remainder of the top 10 list for men includes Pope Francis, Rev. Billy Graham (for a record 61st time), Sen. John McCain, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, Sen. Bernie Sanders, businessman and philanthropist Bill Gates, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and three men tied for 10th — Vice President Mike Pence, the Dalai Lama and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Bezos and Musk made the top 10 this year for the first time.
In addition to Graham, many of the other top 10 male finishers have been on the list numerous times, including Gates (18 times), Obama (12), the Dalai Lama (eight), Trump (seven), McCain (six) and Pope Francis (five).
One notable person missing from the top 10 list this year is Bill Clinton, whose string of 25 consecutive top 10 finishes ended this year. Clinton was No. 1 on the list each of his eight years as president from 1993 to 2000.
Oprah Winfrey Finishes in Top 10 for 30th Time
Hillary Clinton has finished in the top 10 26 times, the fifth most among women. She trails two of this year’s other top 10 finishers — Queen Elizabeth II (who holds the record for women, with 49 appearances) and Oprah Winfrey (named for the 30th time, third behind former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s 34 appearances and ahead of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ 28 during their lifetimes).
Despite their frequent appearances on the list, neither the queen nor Winfrey has ever finished first. Queen Elizabeth II was second in 1952, 1957, 1958 and 1962. Winfrey has finished second 13 times, most recently in 2014.
Joining Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and Winfrey in the top 10 this year are Michelle Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, first lady Melania Trump, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Beyonce Knowles. Trump, Haley and Knowles are new to the top 10. Rice has finished in the top 10 17 times, Obama 10 times, Merkel five times, and Warren and the duchess four times each.
Clinton was the choice of 22% of Democrats, with Obama next at 12%. Among independents, Obama had 8% of mentions and Clinton 5%. No woman registered 5% among Republicans, with Rice named by 4% and Clinton, Trump and Haley named by 3%. Republicans are much more likely to name relatives (19%) than Democrats (9%) or independents (12%) are.
Hillary Clinton has been named most admired more than any woman — or man — in Gallup’s polling history. But the likelihood that she will continue to hold that honor in future years seems less certain, with her popularity at a nadir and the percentage naming her as most admired the lowest in 15 years. She managed to win this year because she remains arguably more prominent than other contenders. However, retaining that stature may be more challenging in coming years with her political career likely over.
Trump’s unpopularity is holding him back from winning the most admired distinction. The incumbent president is the usual winner, since he is arguably the most prominent figure in the country — but when the president is unpopular, other well-known and well-liked men have been able to finish first. Obama, like Hillary Clinton, may fade in prominence the longer he is out of office. Former presidents commonly make the top 10 list but rarely win, with Obama only the second to do so, along with Eisenhower in 1967 and 1968.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 4-11, 2017, with a random sample of 1,049 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.