Gallup has done a poll each year since 1948 asking Americans what person they admire most. This year the poll was taken December 5-12, and shows that Donald Trump ties Barack Obama as America’s most admired man.
According to Gallup:
Americans’ choice for most admired man this year is sharply divided along party lines: 41% of Democrats name Obama, while 45% of Republicans choose Trump. Relatively few Democrats choose Trump and relatively few Republicans pick Obama, while independents’ choices are divided about equally between the two men.
After Obama and Trump, no other man was mentioned by more than 2% of respondents. The remainder of the top 10 for men this year includes former President Jimmy Carter, businessman Elon Musk, philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Pope Francis, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Rep. Adam Schiff, the Dalai Lama, and investor 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.
The incumbent president has typically been Americans’ choice as the most admired man, having earned the distinction in 58 of the 72 prior Gallup polls. When the incumbent president is not the choice, it is usually because he is unpopular politically, which was the case for Trump in 2017 (36% approval rating) and 2018 (40%).
Trump is more popular now than he was in the past two years, with a 45% job approval rating, among his best as president. Coincident with the rise in his job approval rating, the 18% of Americans currently naming Trump as the most admired man is also up, from 13% in 2018 and 14% in 2017. Increased mentions of Trump as the most admired man have come almost exclusively among his fellow Republicans — 32% of Republicans named Trump in 2018 and 35% did so in 2017.
Obama’s 18% mentions among U.S. adults as the most admired man are in line with his 2018 (19%) and 2017 (17%) figures, all of which are high for a former president. Dwight Eisenhower is the only other former president who received double-digit mentions at any point after leaving office.
The post-presidency popularity for Obama and Eisenhower allowed each to finish first a record 12 times. Each man was named most admired man in the year he was elected president and all eight years he was in office, plus three additional years. Obama has finished first during the first three years after he left office, while Eisenhower won once before he ran for president (1950) and twice after leaving office (1967 and 1968).