I’ve never put much stock in polls for the “most admired” man or woman. Heck, Michelle Obama again was polled as the most admired woman for the second year in a row. For what? Having married Barack Obama? For her health food initiative that nobody liked?
For the past several years Barack Obama has topped the “most admired” man list. Typically, whoever occupies the White House tops the list, but for the past couple years Barack Obama has held onto the top slot. But not for 2019. According to Gallup, admiration for Trump has gone up, and Trump and Obama are tied in the 2019 poll of Most Admired Man.
That said, there’s really little reason to read much into this or any similar poll. As Gallup notes, Americans’ choice for most admired man is largely based on party affiliation. “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.”
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.
“Trump’s popularity grew enough this year to allow him to tie Barack Obama as the most admired man, but not to end Obama’s streak of 12 first-place finishes,” Gallup explains. “The results reflect the significant party divide in the U.S., with Republicans overwhelmingly naming Trump and Democrats Obama, and few other men garnering significant mention.”
Only one Democrat candidate for president made the top ten, and that was Bernie Sanders.
The 2019 results are based on a December 2-15 poll.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis