George W. Bush Is Most Admired Man in 2004

by Joseph Carroll

Hillary Clinton tops list of most admired women; Oprah Winfrey a close second

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- President George W. Bush tops Gallup's annual survey of the "most admired man" for the fourth year in a row. Hillary Clinton leads the most admired woman list, with Oprah Winfrey close behind. Republicans and Democrats differ significantly in their views of this year's most admirable men and women. Republicans overwhelmingly say the president is the most admired man, and also name first lady Laura Bush and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice as the most admired women. Democrats, meanwhile, are most likely to mention Bill and Hillary Clinton as the most admired man and woman.

Most Admired Men

Nearly one in four Americans name George W. Bush, without prompting, as the most admired man this year, according to the Dec. 17-19 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. Former President Bill Clinton, who recently underwent a quadruple bypass and opened his presidential library in Little Rock, Ark., comes in second place, with 6% of respondents mentioning him. Rounding out the top five most admired this year are Secretary of State Colin Powell, at 5%, former President Jimmy Carter, at 4%, and the Rev. Billy Graham, at 3%.

2004 Top 10 Most Admired Men
Dec. 17-19, 2004

%

1.

George W. Bush

23

2.

Bill Clinton

6

3.

Colin Powell

5

4.

Jimmy Carter

4

5.

(Reverend) Billy Graham

3

6.

Pope John Paul II

3

7.

John Kerry

2

8.

Nelson Mandela

2

9.

Tony Blair

2

10.

Bill Gates

1

The percentage of Americans mentioning George W. Bush as the most admired man is lower now than at any other point since he took office in 2001. In December 2001, a few months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., 39% mentioned Bush as the most admired man. This percentage decreased to 28% in 2002, and held steady at 29% in 2003. Now, the percentage of people mentioning Bush has dropped slightly, to 23%.

The president is typically the most admired man each year. The last time a president did not top the list was 1980, when Pope John Paul II was the most admired man. 

Most Admired Women

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton edges out Winfrey for first place with 13% mentioning her, compared with 11% mentioning Winfrey. First lady Laura Bush trails in third place, at 8%, followed by Rice, at 7%, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, at 3%, and former first lady Barbara Bush, at 2%.

Hillary Clinton has come in first or second every year for the past 12 years, starting when she became first lady in 1993. In 2001, she came in second to first lady Laura Bush, and in 1995 and 1996, she came in second behind Mother Teresa. In 1994, Clinton tied with Mother Teresa. In the other years, Clinton came in first. Last year, Clinton held a decisive lead (at 16%) over Winfrey (7%) and Bush (6%), but this year, the percentage for Clinton declined.

2004 Top 10 Most Admired Women
Dec. 17-19, 2004

%

1.

Hillary (Rodham) Clinton

13

2.

Oprah Winfrey

11

3.

Laura Bush

8

4.

Condoleezza Rice

7

5.

Margaret Thatcher

3

6.

Barbara Bush

2

7.

Maya Angelou

1

8.

Nancy Reagan

1

9.

Martha Stewart

1

10.

Madeleine Albright

1

10.

Queen Elizabeth II

1

Partisanship Affects Views on Most Admired This Year

Republicans are more likely to name other Republicans as the most admired man and woman of the year, while Democrats are more likely to name other Democrats.

Half of all Republicans say George W. Bush is the man they most admire in 2004. No other man comes close to Bush as the most admirable among Republicans. Powell is mentioned by 7% of Republicans, while Graham is mentioned by 6%.

Among Democrats, however, Bill Clinton wins as the most admired man, named by 13% of Democrats. Carter follows behind Clinton, with 7% of Democrats' mentions. George W. Bush, Sen. John Kerry, former South African President Nelson Mandela, Powell, and the pope are each mentioned by 4% of Democrats.

Republicans name Laura Bush and Rice as the most admired women, while Democrats name Hillary Clinton and Winfrey. Laura Bush and Rice are each mentioned by 16% of Republicans, and are followed by Winfrey, at 7%, Barbara Bush, at 5%, and Clinton, also at 5%. Clinton, meanwhile, is named the most admired woman by 23% of Democrats, while Winfrey comes in second at 16%.

Billy Graham and Queen Elizabeth II Make the Top 10 Most Often

Since Gallup first began asking the "most admired" questions in 1948, Graham and England's Queen Elizabeth II have appeared on the list more often than any other people. Graham has appeared 48 times and Queen Elizabeth II 40 times. Part of the explanation for these individuals' frequent presence on the list is longevity -- they have had long lives in the public eye. Some popular figures, notably John F. Kennedy, died soon after becoming a public figure and could no longer be included on the list. (The question asks respondents to name the person they most admire who is still living at the time of the interview.) Ronald Reagan's passing this year removes him from the Top 10 list of men, on which he had appeared every year since 1974 with one exception. 

Most Appearances in Top 10 Most Admired Man/Woman List, 1948-2004
(those in italics are still living)

 

 

Number of appearances

Number of appearances

 

 

Billy Graham

48

Queen Elizabeth II

40

Ronald Reagan

31

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

28

Pope John Paul II

27

Margaret Thatcher

26

Jimmy Carter

23

Mamie Eisenhower

21

Dwight Eisenhower

21

Margaret Chase Smith

20

Richard Nixon

21

Nancy Reagan

19

Harry Truman

20

Mother Teresa

18

Edward Kennedy

18

Clare Boothe Luce

18

Winston Churchill

17

Helen Keller

17

George H.W. Bush

16

Mme. Chiang Kai-Shek

17

Douglas MacArthur

15

Betty Ford

17

Bill Clinton

13

Barbara Bush

17

Nelson Mandela

13

Oprah Winfrey

17

Colin Powell

13

Patricia Nixon

15

Henry Kissinger

12

Eleanor Roosevelt

14

Pope Paul VI

12

Hillary Clinton

13

Adlai Stevenson

11

Lady Bird Johnson

11

Albert Schweitzer

11

Indira Gandhi

11

Jesse Jackson

11

Barbara Walters

10

Herbert Hoover

10

Elizabeth Dole

10

Pope Pius XII

10

Princess Diana

10

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,002 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Dec. 17-19, 2004. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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