Each year since 1946, Gallup has asked Americans to name the living man or woman they most admire. The top vote-getters for 2014, announced on Monday, were no surprise: Barack Obama claimed victory in the male category for the seventh straight year, while Hillary Clinton extended her even more impressive run as "most admired woman" for the 17th time in the last 18 years, a record for the survey.
The most eyebrow-raising entrant on either list, however, was Vladimir Putin, who slipped into a tie for 10th place (with Israeli's Benjamin Netanyahu) after being named by 1 percent of respondents. In cracking the top 10, the widely condemned invader of Ukraine earned more votes than Vice President Joe Biden, the last two Republican and Democratic presidential nominees (before Obama), two ex-presidents (Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush), George Clooney, and the Dalai Lama. He even beat out Bono.
Now before we continue, a couple of caveats: In a sample size of 805 people, earning 1 percent of the vote does not amount to that many people, and the difference between Putin and, say, Mitt Romney or the first President Bush, who finished just below him, was probably just a single vote. Yet the question was open-ended, meaning that at least a half dozen people, without being prompted with a list, responded with Putin when asked, "What man that you have heard or read about, living today in any part of the world, do you admire most?"