Gallup: Obama, Hillary Clinton are most admired, again and again

President Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, in 2008, are Gallup's most admired man and woman.

When it comes to admiration, nothing succeeds like success, according to the latest Gallup poll, which finds that this year’s most admired man and woman are President Obama and his erstwhile political rival, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

If that sounds familiar, it should. Obama won for the fourth consecutive time while Clinton has been the most admired woman in each of the last 10 years. She has topped the list 16 times since 1993, outpacing humanitarian and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who topped the list 13 times.

Gallup has been polling on the question of the most admired since 1948. The current version is based on the USA Today/Gallup poll in which Americans were asked to name the person they most admired living in any part of the world. There was no prompting by the questioner, so the respondent had to come up with his or her own choices.

That, of course, is part of the problem. Without prompting, the most admired also becomes a way of keeping track of the names that have most appeared in popular media or culture.

So rounding out the top five women are Oprah Winfrey, First Lady Michelle Obama, former vice presidential candidate and political commentator Sarah Palin and Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of State.

On the male side, former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton make the top five, as do evangelist Billy Graham and financier Warren Buffett.

Politics, religion, money and culture generate publicity, and that is reflected in the most admired. On the male side, four of the top 10 come from the world of government as Newt Gingrich, running for the GOP presidential nomination, joins Obama, Bush and Bill Clinton. Three of the names are religious leaders, including Graham, Pope Benedict XVI and Thomas Monson, who heads the Mormon Church, formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The rest are businessmen as Microsoft’s Bill Gates joins Buffet. Also on the list is Donald Trump, a businessman, entertainment personality and political dabbler all rolled into one package.

On the women's side, Winfrey and television talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres are the only two among the top 10 women not associated with government. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, another GOP presidential aspirant, makes her first appearance on the list, placing 10th.

Being president is a good thing as far as winning the male side of the most admired. The top finisher over time is Dwight Eisenhower, who topped the poll 12 times, followed by Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, with eight annual wins each.

The latest poll is based on interviews with 1,019 Americans from Dec. 15-18. It has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

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— Michael Muskal

Photo: President Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008. Credit: Michal Czerwonka / EPA

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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