President Donald Trump finally defeated former President Barack Obama for the title of most admired man in America in Gallup’s 2020 survey. Trump had tied with Obama in 2019 while Obama beat him in 2017 and 2018. Meanwhile, incoming President Joe Biden came in third, while incoming Vice President Kamala Harris came in second to former first lady Michelle Obama for most admired woman.
In 2019, Trump and Obama tied, with 18 percent of Americans naming each of them as the most admired man in an open-ended survey. This year, 18 percent of Americans again named Trump while only 15 percent chose Obama, according to Gallup.
Trump took the top spot arguably because Republicans consolidated around him. While only 39 percent of Americans approve of his job performance (thanks, no doubt, to the legacy media’s attempts to suppress the news of the president’s major accomplishments such as peace in the Middle East), 48 percent of Republicans named Trump, with no other public figure receiving more than 2 percent of Republican votes. Only 45 percent of Republicans named Trump last year.
Democrats, by contrast, proved divided. Only 13 percent of them named Biden while more than twice that number (32 percent) named Obama, down from 41 percent who named the former president as their most admired man last year.
Independents evenly split between Trump (11 percent) and Obama (11 percent), with 3 percent naming Biden and 2 percent naming infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci.
Gallup has asked the open-ended most admired man question since 1946, and the incumbent president has topped the list 60 of the 74 times. Rather than listing the years the president has topped the list, Gallup listed the years in which presidents did not take the top slot: Harry Truman (1946-1947 and 1950-1952), Lyndon Johnson (1967-1968), Richard Nixon (1973), Gerald Ford (1974-1975), Jimmy Carter (1980), George W. Bush (2008), and Trump (2017-2018).
Behind Trump (18 percent), Obama (15 percent), and Biden (6 percent) came Fauci (3 percent). The remaining top 10 include Pope Francis, Elon Musk, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, basketball player LeBron James, and the Dalai Lama.
Eleven percent of Americans named a personal friend or family member as the man they admired most.
The year 2020 marks the 10th time Trump has finished among the top 10 men, including four times before he ran for president: 1988, 1989, 1990, and 2011. Gates has finished in the top 10 a total of 21 times, while Obama has done so 15 times and the Dalai Lama 11 times. Biden had only cracked the top 10 once before.
The Rev. Billy Graham holds the record for top-ten finishes at 61 times (out of the 74 total). Former President Ronald Reagan took second at 31 times. Former President Jimmy Carter, who made it in the top 10 a whopping 29 times, just fell outside the top ten in 2020.
While Michelle Obama (10 percent) took the top spot for the ladies and incoming Vice President Kamala Harris (6 percent) came second, first lady Melania Trump (4 percent) took third. Behind them came Oprah Winfrey (3 percent), German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2 percent), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2 percent), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (2 percent), and Queen Elizabeth II (2 percent). Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett tied with Greta Thunberg at 1 percent.
Queen Elizabeth II has cracked the top ten most admired women a whopping 52 times. While the queen is impressive in her own right, the success of the Netflix show The Crown may help explain why Americans continue to admire her.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.