Americans again this year name Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama as the Most Admired Woman and Most Admired Man living in any part of the world. Clinton has been the Most Admired Woman each of the last 11 years, and Obama has been the Most Admired Man five years in a row. First lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Condoleezza Rice are next in line behind Clinton on the Most Admired Woman list, while Nelson Mandela, Mitt Romney, Billy Graham, George W. Bush, and Pope Benedict XVI follow Obama as Most Admired Man.
These results are based on a Dec. 19-22 USA Today/Gallup poll. Gallup’s “Most Admired” question is open-ended, asking Americans to name, without prompting, the man and the woman they most admire living in any part of the world. Gallup first asked Americans to name their Most Admired Man in 1946, and in 1948 expanded the question to both genders. The question was not asked in 1976, and in 1967 only the Most Admired Man question was asked.
The open-ended nature of the question produces the names of people with high top-of-mind name identification, most often hailing from the world of government and politics; the list also includes individuals who have become famous serving humanitarian causes and others whose fame comes from the business and entertainment worlds.
This year, seven of those on the top 10 Most Admired Man list are from the world of U.S. government and politics: Obama, Romney, the two George Bushes, Bill Clinton, Ron Paul, and John McCain. One is from international politics — Nelson Mandela — and three are from religious vocations — Billy Graham, Pope Benedict XVI, and the Dalai Lama.
Of the top 10 Most Admired women, four have been associated with U.S. government and politics (Clinton, Michelle Obama, Rice, and Sarah Palin), one with the entertainment world (Winfrey), two with international advocacy causes (Malala Yousafzai and Aung San Suu Kyi), one with international government (Margaret Thatcher), and two with royalty (Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton).
This year, there were no men on the top 10 list from the world of business, while last year that group included Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, and Bill Gates. Last year’s lists for both men and women reflected the then-active Republican primary process and included Newt Gingrich on the men’s list and Michele Bachmann on the women’s list.