When Gallup released their list of "Most Admired" for 2013 on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, the two usual suspects topped the lists in the Most Admired Man and Most Admired Woman categories, President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State, New York Senator, First Lady and potential 2016 Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. Obama has topped the list for the past six years since 2008 and Clinton has topped the list 18 times since her first year as first lady in 1993, and headed the list for the past 12 years.
Presidents have usually topped the list, being the most admired for 57 times in the last 67 years the poll has been held, and topping it for the last 33 years regardless of approval rating. Although President Obama topped the list this year, his margin of victory was half the percentage that he garnered in 2012, mirroring his falling approval ratings and popularity in most general polls on his performance as president. This year Obama was named most admired with 16 percent, down from the 30 percent he received in 2012.
Following Obama was former President George W. Bush and the newly elected Pope Francis at 4 percent. Bush has seen his popularity rating rebound this year, as he dedicated his Presidential library, museum and center in April and made a return to the public eye, but still limiting any comments on his successor's performance.
Pope Francis election as Pope in March marked a renewed excitement in the office of the pontiff, Francis has captured the all the world's respect and interest regardless of religion, even topping Time Magazine's person of the year. According to a "recent ABC News-Washington Post poll" 69 percent of "Americans approve" of the Pope's performance. Despite his popularity, the Pope still only captured 4 percent of this vote. Since 1977 the current pope has always made a placement on the list.
The remainder of the top 10 most admired men included two other living presidents, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, with only former President George H. W. Bush being a living president not reaching the top 10. Carter made the list for the 28th time, the third most times than any man. Clinton has appeared for the 22nd time, placing him at fifth for all time. Additionally Rev. Billy Graham made the list, the 57th time he has done so, the most times, more than any man on the list. There were also two new arrivals on the list, actor and director Clint Eastwood, and the freshman Texas Senator, Republican and Tea Party faithful Ted Cruz, who also just finished his first year as a senator.
Rounding out the top 10 most admired men was Bill Clinton in 4th place with two percent, the Rev. Billy Graham at fifth place also with 2 percent of the vote. The remaining five on the list each received one percent of the vote; perennial Republican presidential hopeful and "former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)," the 2012 Republican Presidential candidate and "former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former President Carter." The two non-political men on the list were Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates and Clint Eastwood, who both received one percent of the vote as well.
As for the most admired women, all the women have listed have appeared in the top 10 previously. Hillary Clinton has topped the list for 18 of the last 21 times; she only failed to top the list in 1995 and 1996 when Mother Teresa was named as most admired and in 2001 when First Lady Laura Bush completed her first year as First Lady and topped the list. This is also the first year Hillary has topped the list and has not been in a public service post. She also garnered her lowest percentage to top the list since 2006, winning only 15 percent rather than the 21 percent of the vote she had last year.
Rounding out the top ten most admired women was Oprah Winfrey at 6 percent, and both First Lady Michelle Obama and Former Governor of Alaska, 2008 Republican vice-Presidential candidate and Tea Party leader Sarah Palin each received 5 percent placing them in third and fourth place respectively. Pakistani girl's education activist and teenager Malala Yousafzai placed fifth with 2 percent, tying with former Secretary of State under Bush, Condeleezza Rice at sixth also with 2 percent.
The remaining four women on the top ten list all made it with only one percent of the vote; newly reelected German Chancellor Angela Merkel at seventh, actress and United Nations Ambassador and humanitarian Angelina Jolie at eighth.
While two members of the of the Royal family had the last two spots, Duchess Kate married to Prince William, who gave birth in July to the fourth generation of living direct heirs to the throne, Prince George, and Queen Elizabeth II at the 10th spot. The Queen made her first appearance on the most admired women's list in its first year in 1948 and has appeared more times in the top 10 than any other women for a total of 46 times.
Gallup poll believes despite his low approval ratings and lower margin of winning the top spot this year Obama will make one of the most appearances on the list as the years go by; "Given his relative youth at age 52, the esteem in which Americans hold former presidents, and his historical significance as the first African-American president, should he live a long life he likely will also rank among the men with the most top 10 appearances for all time."And if Hillary Clinton runs for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination, she will also continue to lead the list for the foreseeable future.
- Most Admired Men and Women of 2013, Gallup, Dec. 30, 2013
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. Her specializations are US, Canadian & Israeli politics.