Politics

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton Are 2010's Most Admired

by Lydia Saad

Sarah Palin and Oprah Winfrey are closely matched behind Clinton

PRINCETON, NJ -- President Barack Obama is Americans' Most Admired Man of 2010, substantially ahead of the former presidents, iconic religious leaders, and others who fill out the top 10 list. Obama first became Americans' Most Admired Man in 2008, shortly after his election as the nation's 44th president, and has held the title since then.

Most Admired Man -- 2010 Top 10

Obama is the runaway favorite for Most Admired Man among Democrats nationwide: 46% choose him, followed by 7% who pick Bill Clinton and 5% Nelson Mandela. Obama also leads among independents, with 17%, but ranks second among Republicans behind George W. Bush.

2010 Most Admired Man, by Party ID

Sitting presidents have dominated Gallup's Most Admired Man poll over the years, achieving No. 1 in 52 out of 64 measures since Gallup initiated the question in 1946.

"Clinton has dominated the Most Admired Woman title for most of the past two decades, earning 15 No. 1 rankings since her first appearance on the list in 1992."
The 22% of Americans naming Obama this year as the man they most admire of any living man in the world is typical for presidents in their second year of office. However, Obama does less well this year than in previous years. The 30% naming him in 2009 was among the highest for recent presidents in their first year in office. The 32% naming Obama in December 2008 was extraordinarily high for a president-elect, similar to the percentage seen for Dwight Eisenhower.

Presidents' Most Admired Man Ratings in Year Elected and First Term

Also notable is Billy Graham's 54th appearance in the top 10, nearly double the number of appearances of Ronald Reagan, who has the second-most top 10s, at 31. Jimmy Carter made the top 10 this year after a two-year absence, his 27th appearance, tied with Pope John Paul II for third all-time.

Clinton Continues Reign as Most Admired Woman

Hillary Clinton is the Most Admired Woman this year, her ninth consecutive year at No. 1.

In fact, the order of the top six women named in 2010 is identical to 2009, with Sarah Palin, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, and Queen Elizabeth following Clinton.

Most Admired Woman -- 2010 Top 10

Clinton has dominated the Most Admired Woman title for most of the past two decades, earning 15 No. 1 rankings since her first appearance on the list in 1992. She joins Eleanor Roosevelt and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as first ladies whose strong popularity has extended well beyond her husband's presidency, although, given Clinton's post-White House political career, perhaps for different reasons.

Historically, first ladies have figured prominently on the list, typically appearing in the top three at some point during their White House tenure. However, they are much less likely than presidents to win the top spot. First ladies who have succeeded in placing first include Clinton, with six No. 1 rankings in Bill Clinton's two terms as president; Nancy Reagan, who achieved it three times in Ronald Reagan's two terms; Barbara Bush, who achieved it twice in her husband's single term; and Rosalynn Carter, who tied for or placed first in three years during her husband's single term. No first lady has won the top overall ranking since Laura Bush in 2001.

Thus far as first lady, Obama, like Laura Bush for most of her husband's presidency, has not garnered high mentions as Most Admired Woman. Her single-digit performances on the list since Barack Obama took office are on the low side for other first ladies since Carter at this point in their husband's first term.

First Ladies' Most Admired Woman Ratings in Year President Elected and First Term

One reason Michelle Obama may not garner higher mentions is that many Democrats, who might otherwise name a Democratic first lady, instead name Hillary Clinton. However, Obama also trails Oprah Winfrey in mentions among Democrats.

2010 Most Admired Woman, by Party ID

Queen Elizabeth makes her 43rd appearance in the top 10, the record for any woman. Winfrey enjoys both high ranking and longevity on the list, ranking second or third each year since 1997 (although never No. 1), and placing in the top 10 every year since 1988.

Survey Methods

Results for this USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 10-12, 2010, with a random sample of 1,019 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the continental U.S., selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone-only). Each sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone-only respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, education, region, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in continental U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

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.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

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