PRINCETON, NJ -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama continue to be named by Americans as the Most Admired Woman and Most Admired Man living today in any part of the world. Clinton has been the Most Admired Woman each of the last 10 years, and Obama has been the Most Admired Man four years in a row. Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, and Condoleezza Rice round out the top five Most Admired women, while the top five Most Admired men also include George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Billy Graham, and Warren Buffett.
These results are based on a Dec. 15-18 USA Today/Gallup poll. In 1946, Gallup first asked Americans to name, without prompting, the person they most admire living in any part of the world. Since 1948, Gallup has asked Americans to name separately the Most Admired Man and Most Admired Woman, and has done so each year except in 1967 (when only Most Admired Man was asked) and 1976.
The Most Admired typically hail from the worlds of government, religion, business, entertainment, or humanitarian causes. Of the top 10 Most Admired men, four are government leaders (Obama, Clinton, Bush, and Newt Gingrich), three are business leaders (Buffett, Donald Trump, and Bill Gates), and three are religious leaders (Graham, Pope Benedict, and Thomas Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Of the top 10 Most Admired women, eight are from government roles and two are from television (Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres).
One change in the list of Most Admired women is seen in Palin's fall from second place each of the last three years to fourth place this year. Minnesota Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is the only first-time entrant among the top 10 women this year.
There are two new entrants in the top 10 men -- Buffett and Monson. Buffett and Monson have been mentioned in recent years but never made the top 10 until now. It is common for the president of the Mormon Church to receive mentions, but Monson is the first to make the top 10.
Also this year, Gingrich and Trump returned to the top 10 after long absences, with Gingrich last making the list in 1995 and Trump in 1990. That was Gingrich's only other appearance, while Trump has made the top 10 four times.
Clinton Most Admired Woman for Record 16th Time
Hillary Clinton has now topped the list of Most Admired women a total of 16 times since 1993, finishing second in 1995 and 1996 to Mother Teresa and in 2001 to Laura Bush.
No other woman has been named Most Admired Woman as many times as Clinton. Eleanor Roosevelt is second with 13 No.1 finishes, followed by Margaret Thatcher, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Mother Teresa.
Barack Obama's first-place finish is his fourth. Dwight Eisenhower holds the record for first-place finishers among men, with 12, followed by Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton with 8 each.
It is clear from the list of Most Admired men that presidents usually win the honor. A sitting or newly elected president has won the distinction each of the last 31 years, and 55 times out of the 65 it has been asked. The only non-presidents to finish first were Douglas MacArthur (1946-1947 and 1951), Eisenhower (1950 before being elected and 1967-1968 after leaving office), Henry Kissinger (1973-1975), and Pope John Paul II (1980).
Graham Continues Remarkable Streak of Top 10 Finishes
The Rev. Billy Graham has never finished first, but has been in the top 10 more than any other man -- 55 times since 1955. He has finished as high as second place, which he has done on eight occasions. After Graham, Reagan is next with 31 top 10 finishes, while Pope John Paul II, Jimmy Carter, Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Harry Truman, and Bill Clinton have had 20 or more.
Like Graham, Queen Elizabeth II of England has never finished first but has been in the top 10 more than any other woman, making her record 44th top 10 appearance this year. She first made the top 10 in 1948 before she was queen. Thatcher has the second most top 10 appearances for women at 33, followed by Kennedy, Winfrey, Mamie Eisenhower, Barbara Bush, Margaret Chase Smith, and Hillary Clinton.
Both Graham, 93, and Queen Elizabeth II, 85, owe their long stretches of top 10 finishes to rising to prominence at fairly young ages and maintaining a loyal following during their long lives.
Results for this USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 15-18, 2011, with a random sample of 1,019 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
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.
View methodology, full question results, and trend data.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.