Only five times has the most admired man in the country not been a president - past, current or elected. And in 2016, the trend continued, with President Obama retaining the title he's held since 2008.
For each of the past 15 years, the most admired woman has been a very particular former first lady: Hillary Clinton. Clinton has been named America's most admired woman 21 times, the most of any winner of the title. It's often been a squeaker, such as when she narrowly edged out Sarah Palin in 2009. But in 2016, as in years past, no woman has been identified as the most admired more than Clinton.
Her opponent in this year's presidential contest, though, didn't fare quite as well. Donald Trump had the most support of any second-place finisher over the past decade, but it wasn't enough to catch Obama. The percentage of the population that identifies him as the man they admire the most has consistently outpaced the field since he earned the top spot.
This news, coming at this moment, will probably be somewhat galling to Trump. Over the weekend, Obama told his former adviser David Axelrod that he believed he could have won in 2016, a claim at which Trump chafed. To lose an admiration contest in the wake of that seems as though it would be particularly frustrating to the president-elect.
It's probably a function of the popularity of each man. In 2008, Obama won the most-admired title easily, thanks to his historic election and George W. Bush's low approval ratings. In 2000, Bill Clinton topped George W. Bush, albeit barely. By 2001, Bush set a new record in the polling, with 39 percent identifying him as most admired - thanks in no small part to his response to the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The big question is what happens next year. Past presidents have often won the crown of most admired, as noted above. Bill Clinton, for example, has been in the top 10 for 25 years. (Trump has made the top 10 six times, including 1988 through 1990, 2011 and last year.) Will Obama continue to be viewed as more admirable to Americans even once Trump has taken office?
One bet that's probably safe to make: Hillary Clinton will win again in 2017.
President Obama Beats President-Elect Trump in Gallup's Annual Most Admired Man Poll
Obama, who was named most admired man by 22 percent of respondents, edged out President-elect Donald Trump for the honor. Trump came in second at 15 percent.
For the 15th consecutive year, and a record 21st time overall, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was named most admired woman. Since her first win in 1993, Clinton has topped the list every year with three exceptions: in 1995 and 1996 when she finished behind Mother Theresa, and in 2001 when she finished behind then-first lady Laura Bush.
Since the most admired man poll’s launch in 1946, the sitting president has been named most admired man 58 times. Of the exceptions, two were president-elects defeating the sitting president: Obama over then-President George W. Bush in 2008 and Dwight Eisenhower over then-President Harry Truman in 1952.
Eisenhower is the current record holder of the honor, having been named most admired man 12 times.
Behind Obama and Trump in this year's poll are Pope Francis, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rev. Billy Graham, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton and Bill Gates in a tie for sixth place. Vice President-elect Mike Pence rounded out the top 10.
First lady Michelle Obama finished second in the most admired woman poll, with 8 percent of respondents naming her as most admired woman.
The women rounding out the top 10 are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Queen Elizabeth, Malala Yousafzai, Condoleezza Rice, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sarah Palin.
Eleanor Roosevelt has the second-most first place finishes among women, having been named most admired woman 13 times.
Americans Named Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton As the People They Most Admired in 2016
Every year since 1946, Gallup has performed an annual survey of a random selection of Americans asking them to choose one man (and subsequently one woman) they admired most that year. Every year since 2008, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have held the top spot for the man and woman Americans most admire.
The Gallup poll results are based on phone calls made between December 7 and December 11, “with a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia,” it says. This year, Hillary Clinton snagged the top spot for the 15th consecutive year and the 21st time. From Gallup:
Americans named Hillary Clinton the Most Admired Woman for the 15th consecutive year and 21st time overall. Since her initial win in 1993 as first lady, Clinton has topped the list every year but 1995 and 1996 (when she finished behind Mother Teresa) and 2001 (behind Laura Bush). Eleanor Roosevelt has the second-most No. 1 finishes among women, at 13.
Michelle Obama followed Hillary Clinton in Gallup’s poll as the second woman Americans most admired, and Barack Obama was followed closely by Donald Trump in the poll, receiving 15 percent of participants versus Obama’s 22 percent. This was the first time Vice-president-elect Mike Pence has made it into the top ten men Americans most admired. Let that sink in for a minute.