Who Are the Most Admired Men and Women of 2010? The Poll is Open

The annual USA Today/ Gallup Poll on the most admired men and women of the year. President Obama tops the list of the most admired men and Secretary of State Clinton tops the list for the most admired women (sorry FLOTUS). The discussion of the results are presented in some detail at Gallup.

Hamilton assured us (Federalist 68):

“talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.”

Let us assume, arguendo, that Hamilton was correct and the placement of President Obama at the top of the list of the most admired men (a position occupied by presidents in 52 of the 64 years since Gallup began asking the question) is a product of his “other talents” and “different kind of merit.”

What I find interesting is Obama’s relatively poor performance when compared with recent presidents at the end of their second year in office. Here is the rank order (followed by the percentage of respondents who cited the president as most admired)

George W. Bush: 28 percent
Dwight Eisenhower: 27 percent
Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter: 22 percent
Ronald Reagan: 20 percent
Richard Nixon: 16 percent
Bill Clinton: 13 percent

For those who are wondering, the other most admired men included George W. Bush (5 percent), Bill Clinton (4 percent), followed by Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, Pope Benedict XVI, Billy Graham, Jimmy Carter, Glenn Beck (all at 2 percent), and the Dali Lama (1 percent).

Here is a challenge: who would you list as the most admired man and woman of 2010? The only rule is that your nomination must be alive (given the above list, that may be an overly restrictive condition).

7 thoughts on “Who Are the Most Admired Men and Women of 2010? The Poll is Open

  1. How anyone can nominate anyone they don’t know is beyond me. If the most admirable figure in your life is someone you read about in the news, you have surrounded yourself in idiots.

  2. I’m not getting this argument about “relatively poor performance.” He’s tied for third among eight (and tied for first among democrats). He’s behind W (possibly still coasting on the 9/11 popularity surge) and Ike, who had popularity as a successful military commander as well as president.

    1. My assessment may be clouded by two things: (1). My memory of how unpopular–or at the very least, how unremarkable–Bush I and Carter seemed relative to Obama at this point. (2). The elevated status BO continues to occupy among most of my acquaintances (of course, one should not generalize from one’s local observations within an elite liberal arts institution in a deep blue state). From my day-to-day experiences, President Obama seems to have a high level of admiration (even among the true believers who have become somewhat disenchanted).

  3. I’m surprised General David Petraeus doesn’t make the list given his popularity.

    It is sad that besides Gates, no scientist, entrepreneur, or inventor is on the list. They’ll do or have done a lot more for our lives than any of these darn politicians.

  4. I’ve been pondering this for a few days, but no one is coming to mind. Isn’t that sad? Is that just a reflection on me or something more general?

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