George W. Bush Is 2002's Most Admired Man, No Consensus on Most Admired Woman

by Joseph Carroll

Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Laura Bush among most admired women this year

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- President George W. Bush leads Gallup's annual survey of the "most admired man" for the second year in a row, but there is no consensus among Americans for the "most admired woman." The percentage of Americans who name Bush the most admired man has dropped since last year, but he still gets one of the highest vote totals for any man on this measure in Gallup's polling history. New York Senator Hillary Clinton, talk show host Oprah Winfrey, and First Lady Laura Bush are at the top of the list of the most admired women this year but are not substantially ahead of other women on the list.

Bush Leads Most Admired List for Men

The December 16-17 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll asked Americans to name the man and woman living in any part of the world today that they most admire, a question Gallup has asked the public at the end of the year for over half a century.

More than one-quarter of Americans, 28%, names Bush as the most admired man this year. Jimmy Carter, who recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, comes in second place, with 9% of respondents mentioning him. Rounding out the top five most admired this year are Secretary of State Colin Powell, at 4%, Pope John Paul II, at 3%, and former President Bill Clinton, also at 3%.

2002 Top Ten Most Admired Men

%

1.

George W. Bush

28

2.

Jimmy Carter

9

3.

Colin Powell

4

4.

Pope John Paul II

3

5.

Bill Clinton

3

6.

(Rev) Billy Graham

2

7.

Nelson Mandela

1

8.

Al Gore

1

9.

Ronald Reagan

1

10.

Denzel Washington

1

The number of Americans mentioning Bush as the most admired man has declined since last year, when he was named by 39% of the public and received more mentions than any other man in Gallup's history of asking this question. Last year's poll came just months after the September 11th terrorist attacks had put an intense focus on the president and his initiation of the war on terrorism, and at a time when Bush's overall job approval rating was in the 80% range.

The decrease in mentions of Bush as most admired from last year to this year occurred disproportionately among women. The current poll finds a substantial 16-percentage point decrease among women who name Bush as the most admired man living today, with 24% naming Bush this year and 40% naming him last year. Roughly one-third of men, meanwhile, name Bush as most admired in both the 2001 and 2002 surveys.

Although fewer Americans name Bush as most admired man this year, the president's standing still ranks as one of the highest Gallup has recorded for any president. Only three other presidents fared better than Bush on this most admired measure: John F. Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis in 1961, Lyndon Johnson the month after the Kennedy assassination in 1963, and Dwight Eisenhower in the first year of his administration in 1953. It is important to note that while Bush's scores for the past two years are high in terms of the most admired man question, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis received a significantly higher number of mentions in the most admired woman category in the years following her husband's assassination, with 60% in 1963 and 46% in 1965.

Top Ten Most Admired Presidents

Based on % Mentioning as Most Admired Man

Year

President

%

1.

2001

George W. Bush

39

2.

1961

John F. Kennedy

32

3.

1963

Lyndon Johnson

30

4.

1953

Dwight Eisenhower

29

5.

2002

George W. Bush

28

6.

1983

Ronald Reagan

28

7.

1988

Ronald Reagan

27

8.

1965

Lyndon Johnson

27

9.

1957

Dwight Eisenhower

27

10.

1952

Dwight Eisenhower

27

No Consensus on Most Admired Woman This Year

No one stands out as a clear winner this year in the most admired woman category. Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Laura Bush essentially tie among Americans at the top of the list. Clinton gets slightly more mentions, at 7%, than the 6% garnered by Winfrey and Bush. Former First Lady Barbara Bush and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher are mentioned by 3% of the public, followed by actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, the newly elected Senator from North Carolina Elizabeth Dole, and National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, all named by 2% of the public.

2002 Top Ten Most Admired Women

%

1.

Hillary Clinton

7

2.

Oprah Winfrey

6

3.

Laura Bush

6

4.

Barbara Bush

3

5.

Margaret Thatcher

3

6.

Jennifer Lopez

2

7.

Elizabeth Dole

2

8.

Condoleeza Rice

2

9.

Maya Angelou

1

10.

Madeleine Albright

1

Partisanship Impacts Most Admired List This Year

Republicans and Democrats have quite different choices for the man and woman they most admire.

More than half of all Republicans, 52%, say Bush is the man they most admire in 2002. No other man comes close to Bush as the most admirable among Republicans. Reverend Billy Graham and Carter are mentioned by 4% of Republicans, while Powell and former President Ronald Reagan are mentioned by 3%.

Among Democrats, however, Carter wins as the most admired man, named by 14% of Democrats. Bush follows closely behind Carter, with 10% of Democrats' votes. Bill Clinton and the Pope are further down the list, with 5% and 4% respectively.

For the second year in a row, Republicans name Laura Bush as the most admired woman, while Democrats name Hillary Clinton. The First Lady is the clear choice among Republicans, at 13%, and is followed by her mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, at 6%, and Elizabeth Dole, at 5%. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is named the most admired woman by 15% of Democrats, while Oprah Winfrey trails her closely at 11%.

Jennifer Lopez Most Admired Woman Among Younger Americans

Although there is no one clear victor for most admired woman this year among older Americans, there is a more distinct winner for 18-29 year olds. Jennifer Lopez, nicknamed J.Lo., gets the most mentions among younger Americans, with 10% naming her. The actress and singer has been in the news lately because of her recent engagement to fellow actor Ben Affleck, along with a new movie, Maid in Manhattan (that was the highest grossing film the weekend of December 13-15), and new album, This is Me, released at the end of November. No one woman stands out as the most admirable for people aged 30-49, and Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush essentially tie among people aged 50 and older.

The president wins among all age groups for most admired man. Twenty percent of Americans aged 18-29 specify Bush as the most admired man, compared with 30% of people aged 30-49 and 29% of people aged 50 and older. Other than Bush, there is no other man who gets a significant percentage of the vote among younger people. About one in 10 Americans in the 30-49 and 50-plus age categories, though, name Carter as the most admired man, no doubt reflecting the fact that older Americans are more likely to remember Carter's presidency and to be more aware of his diplomatic efforts since he left office in 1980.

Billy Graham and Queen Elizabeth Make the Top 10 Most Often

Since Gallup first began asking the most admired questions in 1948, Reverend Billy Graham and England's Queen Elizabeth II have appeared on the list more often than any other people. Graham has appeared 45 times and Queen Elizabeth 38 times (Graham was on the Top Ten list again this year, although Queen Elizabeth was not). Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II made the Top 10 list yet again this year, and currently fall behind Graham in the number of appearances on the Top 10 list. 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).

MOST ADMIRED MAN AND WOMAN SUMMARY

Most Appearances in Top 10 List, 1948-2002

Most Admired Men

Number of times

Most Admired Women

Number of times

Billy Graham

45

Queen Elizabeth II

38

Ronald Reagan

29

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

27

Pope John Paul II

25

Mamie Eisenhower

21

Dwight Eisenhower

21

Margaret Thatcher

21

Harry Truman

20

Margaret Chase Smith

19

Richard Nixon

20

Mother Teresa

18

Jimmy Carter

19

Claire Booth Luce

18

Winston Churchill

17

Nancy Reagan

17

Edward Kennedy

17

Helen Keller

17

George H.W. Bush

15

Mme Chiang Kai-Shek

17

Douglas MacArthur

15

Betty Ford

16

Pope Paul VI

12

Barbara Bush

15

Albert Schweitzer

11

Oprah Winfrey

15

Henry Kissinger

11

Eleanor Roosevelt

14

Jesse Jackson

11

Patricia Nixon

14

Adlai Stevenson

11

Lady Bird Johnson

10

Indira Gandhi

10

Survey Methods

The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,009 adults, 18 years and older, conducted December 16-17, 2002. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 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.

What man that you have heard or read about, living today in any part of the world, do you admire most? And who is your second choice?

COMBINED FIRST AND SECOND CHOICES (Ranked according to number of responses, 2002)

Dec ‘02

Dec ‘01

Dec ‘00

Dec ‘99

Dec ‘98

Dec ‘97

%

%

%

%

%

%

1.

George W. Bush

28

39

5

1

--

--

2.

Jimmy Carter

9

1

1

3

2

3

3.

Colin Powell

4

5

5

2

3

4

4.

Pope John Paul II

3

3

6

6

7

5

5.

Bill Clinton

3

2

6

10

18

14

6.

(Rev) Billy Graham

2

2

4

7

5

6

7.

Nelson Mandela

1

1

3

4

2

3

8.

Al Gore

1

*

5

--

--

--

9.

Ronald Reagan

1

1

3

4

3

3

10.

Denzel Washington

1

*

*

--

--

--

Rudolph Guiliani

1

4

--

--

--

--

Tony Blair

1

2

*

--

--

--

Kofi Annan

1

1

--

--

--

--

Dalai Lama

1

*

1

1

--

--

Henry Kissinger

*

*

--

--

--

--

Michael Jordan

*

1

1

1

4

2

Gordon Hinckley

*

1

1

1

--

--

George H.W. Bush

*

1

1

2

3

3

Bill Gates

*

*

1

3

2

2

Jesse Jackson

*

*

1

1

1

2

Friend/Relative

4

3

5

10

12

10

Other

21

17

26

25

34

31

None/No opinion

27

22

33

25

29

34

What woman that you have heard or read about, living today in any part of the world, do you admire most? And who is your second choice?

COMBINED FIRST AND SECOND CHOICES (Ranked according to number of responses, 2002)

Dec ‘02

Dec ‘01

Dec ‘00

Dec ‘99

Dec ‘98

Dec ‘97

%

%

%

%

%

%

1.

Hillary Clinton

7

8

19

14

28

14

2.

Oprah Winfrey

6

5

4

6

8

5

3.

Laura Bush

6

12

*

--

--

--

4.

Barbara Bush

3

3

2

3

3

5

5.

Margaret Thatcher

3

2

4

4

4

5

6.

Jennifer Lopez

2

*

*

--

--

--

7.

Elizabeth Dole

2

1

2

4

6

2

8.

Condoleeza Rice

2

2

*

--

--

--

9.

Maya Angelou

1

1

1

1

2

2

10.

Madeleine Albright

1

1

3

3

3

4

Barbara Walters

1

1

*

--

--

--

Rosalynn Carter

1

*

*

*

*

*

Queen Elizabeth

1

*

1

2

1

1

Elizabeth Taylor

1

*

*

--

--

--

Julia Roberts

*

1

*

--

--

--

Madonna

*

1

*

--

--

--

Sandra Day O'Connor

*

*

1

--

--

--

Tipper Gore

*

--

1

--

--

--

Christine Whitman

*

*

1

--

--

--

Rosa Parks

*

*

*

1

--

--

Friend/Relative

7

4

8

12

13

13

Other

24

21

25

22

27

24

None/No opinion

28

40

34

33

29

34

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