Hillary Clinton has been voted the "Most Admired Woman" by Americans for an astounding 12-year in a row, according to Gallup. President Obama, by comparison, has only been the "Most Admired Man" for six consecutive years. Though those hot streaks are slightly less impressive, when you consider what it takes to be "admired."
The Gallup Poll is conducted each year and reveals much about the types of leaders Americans are into — mostly politicians, British royalty, wealthy entrepreneurs and religious leaders. It also reveals how static and boring those preferences are. The list of people voted onto the top ten list hasn't changed much since the poll was split into men's and women's lists in 1948. (In 1946 and 1947, the poll was of Most Admired Person). Among the men, the Rev. Billy Graham has made the cut 57 times and Ronald Reagan 31. Among the women, Queen Elizabeth II was on the top ten list 46 times, and Oprah Winfrey 26. Hillary Clinton has been on the list a total of 22 times since becoming First Lady in 1993.
The runner-up for Most Admired Woman of 2013 was Oprah Winfrey, with six percent of the vote, who beat out Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin's five percent. Malala Yousafzai and Condoleezza Rice each won two percent of the vote, and were followed by Angela Merkel, Angelina Jolie, Duchess Kate and Queen Elizabeth II, who each received one percent.
In 2013, President Obama won 16 percent of the vote and was followed by former president George W. Bush and Pope Francis with four percent, who tied for second-most-admired. Bill Clinton and Rev. Billy Graham both nabbed two percent of the vote, and Bill Gates, Clint Eastwood, Ron Paul, Ted Cruz, Mitt Romney and Jimmy Carter each got one percent. According to Gallup seven percent of respondents wrote in Nelson Mandela as the Most Admired Man, but the honor is only awarded to living candidates.
The nearly distribution of conservatives and liberals suggests that being admired is as much about the job you hold, as it is about anything you actually say or do. Obama and Clinton are the most admired Americans, because they are also the most famous; and they are the most famous, because they are the most powerful. According to Gallup, "the sitting president has won the distinction 57 times in the 67 years the question has been asked, including the last 33 in a row."
Clinton was named the Most Admired Woman this year for the 18th time. Unlike this year, each prior time she won she held an official government role. Her public service may not be complete, though, as she is frequently mentioned as a possible contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, and likely would be the clear front-runner if she decided to pursue it....
Perhaps more interesting than the top ten answers (wouldn't you say the Pope or the Queen or a Clinton if a stranger on the phone asked you the question?) is that while sixteen percent of people polled named Obama, 27 percent said "none or no opinion." For women, 15 percent named Hillary as the most admired, and 28 percent said "none or no opinion." So Americans admire both Obama and Clinton, but not as much as they just don't care.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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