Trump ends Obama’s 12-year run as most admired man on Gallup poll, but Michelle tops women’s list

First Lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama stand on the East front steps of the US Capitol after inauguration ceremonies on 20 January, 2017 (AFP via Getty Images)

Donald Trump has ended Barack Obama’s 12-year run as most admired man in Gallup’s annual poll, having tied with the former president in 2019.

Mr Obama is now tied with Dwight Eisenhower for the most ever first place finishes at the top of the poll.

Michelle Obama leads the poll on most admired women, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris coming in second place.

In the 76 years that Gallup has polled who is the most admired man, the incumbent president has come top 60 times. Current or former first ladies often top the women’s poll.

As an open-ended question, respondents can name anyone in the world.

Most Admired Man, 2020

Donald Trump


Barack Obama


Joe Biden


Dr Anthony Fauci


Pope Francis


Elon Musk


Bernie Sanders


Bill Gates


LeBron James


Dalai Lama


While 48 per cent of Republican respondents named Mr Trump as their choice, with no other public figure getting more than 2 per cent of the vote, Democrats split their responses.

Former president Obama received 32 per cent of votes (down from 41 per cent in 2019), President-elect Joe Biden got 13 per cent, and infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci received five per cent.

When a sitting president does not top the poll it is usually when they are unpopular. In previous years, occupants of the Oval Office who didn’t come top were: Harry Truman (1946-1947 and 1950-1952), Lyndon Johnson (1967-1968), Richard Nixon (1973), Gerald Ford (1974-1975), Jimmy Carter (1980), George W Bush (2008) and Mr Trump (2017-2018).

The top 10 men in 2020 are Mr Trump, Mr Obama, Mr Biden, and Dr Fauci, followed by Pope Francis, Elon Musk, Senator Bernie Sanders, Bill Gates, LeBron James, and the Dalai Lama.

In the 71 years that Gallup has polled on most admired women, a current or former first lady has come top 57 times — 18 while in the White House.

That has also been the case every year since 1997, with Hillary Clinton accounting for most of those, in addition to Ms Obama for 2018 to 2020, and Laura Bush in 2001.

Most Admired Woman, 2020

Michelle Obama


Kamala Harris


Melania Trump


Oprah Winfrey


Angela Merkel


Hillary Clinton


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez


Queen Elizabeth II


Amy Coney Barrett


Greta Thunberg


Melania Trump, who came in third this year, joins Bess Truman and Lady Bird Johnson as former or current first ladies not to have come top of the poll.

After Ms Obama, Ms Harris, and Ms Trump, the remainder of the top 10 this year are Oprah Winfrey, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ms Clinton, Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Queen Elizabeth II, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, and climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Ms Barrett and Ms Thunberg narrowly beat a cluster of other women who all fell marginally outside of the top 10: Dolly Parton, Condoleezza Rice, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Senator Elizabeth Warren, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, actress Betty White, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Outside of the public sphere, Americans named a friend or family member 11 per cent of the time in the men’s category and 16 per cent of the time in the women’s category.

Approximately a fifth of respondents did not offer an answer in either poll.

The record for number of times in the top 10 goes to Reverend Billy Graham in the men’s poll with 61 appearances, and Queen Elizabeth II with 52 appearances in the women’s poll.

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