Barack Obama and Donald Trump tied for "most admired man," according to a new Gallup poll

By Sean Neumann
December 30, 2019 05:00 PM
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A new poll shows that Americans admire former first lady Michelle Obama more than any other woman in the world.

The former first lady was named the “most admired woman” of 2019, according to a new Gallup poll that asked Americans to “name, in an open-ended fashion, which man and woman living anywhere in the world they admire most.”

Obama, 55, is on the heels of a mega 2019 which saw the mother of two embark on a sold-out tour for her record-breaking memoir Becoming, while she and husband Barack Obama produced their first Netflix documentary. Also this year, they bought a new mansion on Martha’s Vineyard and ended the year on a humanitarian trip in Asia for their eponymous Obama Foundation.

In addition, the former first lady was named one of PEOPLE’s “People of the Year” for 2019.

“This past year has been such a meaningful, exhilarating ride,” Obama said after receiving her first Grammy nomination, for Becoming, back in November. “I’ve loved hearing your stories and continuing down the road of becoming together. Thank you for every ounce of love and support you’ve shared so generously.”

Michelle Obama in Vietnam in December for the Obama Foundation’s “Girls Opportunity Alliance” trip.
| Credit: Chuck Kennedy/The Obama Foundation

Former president Obama tied with President Donald Trump for first place on the list of the “most admired man” of the year, marking the 12th time Obama has ended a year in the top spot.

Trump’s tie with Obama was the highest Trump has ever ranked on the annual list.

“When the incumbent president is not the (most admired man), it is usually because he is unpopular politically, which was the case for Trump in 2017 (36% approval rating) and 2018 (40%),” Gallup said. “Trump is more popular now than he was in the past two years, with a 45% job approval rating, among his best as president.”

Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty; SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

Gallup said the votes followed party lines. The results of the poll were based on phone calls Gallup made to a random sample of Americans between Dec. 2-15 of this year, with answers from 1,025 people above the age of 18.

“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,” according to Gallup. “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.”

Former first lady Obama was the clear favorite for “most admired woman,” with Melania Trump in a far-second place finish. Mrs. Obama was the only woman with a double-digit percentage of the vote (10 percent), while Mrs. Trump was named second with five percent. Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton finished first place 22 of the last 25 years, finishing tied for third this year with Oprah Winfrey and teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.

“Obama has had stronger finishes in the past two years than during her eight years as first lady, when no more than 8 percent of Americans named her,” Gallup said.