Who do you admire most in the world? You could answer that question a number of ways; a family member might be the first person to pop into your head, or maybe it’s a revered figure such as the Dalai Lama. But a lot of Americans, it turns out, admire politicians, and this year’s Gallup Most Admired Man poll highlights the political duality that has been playing out across the United States lately, with both Barack Obama and Donald Trump tied for the title of the most admired man of 2019.
Gallop has asked Americans what men and women they admire most every year since 1948, and the incumbent president usually tops the list. Gallup says the year’s current POTUS has earned the distinction in 58 of the 72 prior polls. The 2019 results show a clear split along party lines, though, with 41% of Democrats naming Obama while 45% of Republicans chose Trump.
The 2019 Most Admired Man poll marks Trump’s first appearance in the No. 1 spot, and Obama’s 12th time with the distinction. Gallup notes in a press release that when the incumbent president is not the top choice, “it is usually because he is unpopular politically, which was the case for Trump in 2017 (36% approval rating) and 2018 (40%).”
Those naming Obama or Trump each accounted for 18% of the poll’s U.S. adult respondents, which was conducted from December 2 to 15. After those two, no other man was mentioned by more than 2% of respondents, according to Gallup, but other notable names did make the top 10 list: former president Jimmy Carter, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Pope Francis, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, California Representative Adam Schiff, the Dalai Lama, and Warren Buffett. Eleven percent of Americans named a relative or friend as the man they admire most; 18% named some other living man; and 25% did not name anyone.
When it comes to the most admired woman, Americans gave that honor to Michelle Obama for the second year in a row, with 10% of respondents mentioning the former first lady. Current first lady Melania Trump finished second this year, mentioned by 5% of poll responders. Rounding out the Most Admired Women list were Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Greta Thunberg, Queen Elizabeth II, Nancy Pelosi, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.