POLL RELEASES
December 29, 2000

Little Consensus on Most Admired Man This Year, But Hillary Clinton is Clearly Most Admired Woman
Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II tied as most admired man, but with only 6% of the vote each

by Frank Newport

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

There is very little consensus this year when American are asked to name the single man, living anywhere in the world, that they admire most. In previous years, up to a fifth or more of Americans have named the same person, most usually the president. This year, the top two vote getters -- President Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II -- are named by only 6% of the public, while 5% or less of the public named a wide variety of other men. A third of Americans could not come up with the name of any individual male they most admire.

Behind Clinton and the pope in the most admired list are General Colin Powell, President-Elect George W. Bush, and Al Gore, each named by 5% of the public, evangelist Billy Graham, named by 4%, and former President Ronald Reagan and South African leader Nelson Mandela, named by 3% each. Several other men were named by 1% of Americans: former President Jimmy Carter, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, former President George Bush, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, golfer Tiger Woods, Gordon Hinckley [president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], the Dalai Lama, and former NBA star and current NBA front office executive Michael Jordan.

Bill Clinton has been at the top of this list of most admired men every year since he took office in 1993, with totals that ranged from 20% in 1993 to 18% in both 1996 and 1998. Last year, Clinton was on top with 10% of the vote.

One interesting change this year is the re-emergence of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, who was prominent on the list following the Persian Gulf War, but who had fallen to just 2% last year. Powell's reappearance this year is no doubt due to the announcement of his selection as Secretary of State designate as this poll was being conducted. It is not surprising that the two presidential contenders who dominated the news throughout the five weeks since the November 7 election, Al Gore and George W. Bush, appeared in their relatively high positions. This year marks the first appearance of Al Gore who, despite ultimately losing the presidency to George W. Bush, ties him as most admired at 5%.

More Consensus Concerning Most Admired Woman
Americans are in more agreement about the woman they most admire. First Lady and Senator-Elect Hillary Clinton is by far the most frequently named woman, with 19% of all votes. Behind Clinton are talk show host and magazine publisher Oprah Winfrey and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, named by 4% each. Next are Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, with 3% of the votes, and former presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole and former First Lady Barbara Bush, each with 2%. Women who received 1% were: Poet Maya Angelou, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Queen Elizabeth II, Tipper Gore, and New Jersey Governor Christine Whitman.

Hillary Clinton, like her husband, has been in the number one spot on the most admired woman list every year since 1993. Her high point came in late 1998, when 28% of the public named her as the woman they most admired -- perhaps owing to admiration for the way she handled her husband's impeachment scandal, which was unfolding just as that year's survey was being conducted. Most of the other women on the top 10 list have made multiple appearances, but Sandra Day O'Connor has not been named in recent years, and this year marks the first time for Tipper Gore and New Jersey Governor Christine Whitman (whose appointment by Bush as EPA administrator had not been announced at the time of this survey).

Gallup's most admired list has two important criteria that affect the names that appear each year on the list. First, the man or woman has to be living, and each year Gallup has to strike names of individuals who are no longer alive (such as Mother Teresa). This constraint also tends to reward those who have lived long after coming to prominence (Billy Graham, Ronald Reagan) and excludes people who die relatively early in life (most prominently John F. Kennedy, who appeared on the list just a few times before his assassination in 1963). Second, the question is asked in an open-ended fashion, without prompting, which rewards those individuals who are in the news and thus easily recallable. It is for this reason that presidents and first ladies are usually at or near the top of the list.

Billy Graham and Queen Elizabeth Have Appeared Most Often
Reverend Billy Graham has appeared on the top 10 list more than any other person between 1948 and 2000. The well-known Christian evangelist and friend of presidents has been on the list a remarkable 43 times. Behind Graham is Ronald Reagan who, as a leading conservative and California governor, appeared on the list before being elected president in 1980, and who has been named every year since, for a combined total of 28 times. Next comes Pope John Paul II, who has made 23 appearances, former general and president Dwight D. Eisenhower, 21 times, and Harry Truman and Richard Nixon, 20 times each. Rounding out the top 10: Winston Churchill, Edward Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Douglas MacArthur.

The woman who has appeared on the list more than any other in the last fifty-two years is Queen Elizabeth II of England, who has been among the top ten for 38 years. The Queen is followed by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, 27 times, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 22 times, and Mamie Eisenhower, 21 times. The other six women who have been on the list most often are a fascinating mix of domestic and international personalities: Former Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith, and Mother Teresa, both with 19 appearances, Clare Boothe Luce, 18 times, Helen Keller and Mme. Chiang Kai-Shek, 17 times each, and two first ladies, Betty Ford, and Nancy Reagan, each with 16 appearances.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,011 national adults, aged 18+, conducted December 15-17, 2000. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points.

What man that you have heard or read about, living today in any part of the world, do you admire most? And who is your second choice?

COMBINED FIRST AND SECOND CHOICES (Ranked according to number of responses, 2000)

Dec.
15-17,
2000

Dec.
9-12
1999

Dec.
28-29
1998

Dec.
18-21
1997

Dec.
9-11
1996

Dec.
15-18
1995

Dec.
16-18
1994

Dec.
17-19
1993

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

1.

Bill Clinton

6

10

18

14

18

17

13

20

2.

Pope John Paul II

6

6

7

5

8

8

5

4

3.

Colin Powell

5

2

3

4

6

9

3

3

4.

George W. Bush (TX governor)

5

1

--

--

--

--

--

--

5.

Al Gore

5

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

6.

(Reverend) Billy Graham

4

7

5

6

6

6

4

4

7.

Ronald Reagan

3

4

3

3

4

3

4

3

8.

Nelson Mandela

3

4

2

3

3

2

5

2

9.

Jimmy Carter

1

3

2

3

4

2

9

1

10.

Bill Gates

1

3

2

2

*

2

--

--

George Bush (former president)

1

2

3

3

3

4

5

6

Jesse Jackson

1

1

1

2

2

1

1

1

Tiger Woods

1

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

Gordon B. Hinckley

1

1

--

--

--

--

--

--

Dalai Lama

1

1

--

--

--

--

--

--

Michael Jordan

1

1

4

2

3

1

1

2

Friend/Relative

5

10

12

10

11

13

10

10

Other

26

25

34

31

33

26

28

33

None/No opinion

33

25

29

34

27

31

33

22

*

Mentioned by less that 0.5 percent

--

Too few, if any, mentions recorded that year for name to appear on coded list of admired men

What woman that you have heard or read about, living today in any part of the world, do you admire most? And who is your second choice?

COMBINED FIRST AND SECOND CHOICES (Ranked according to number of responses, 2000)

Dec. 15-17, 2000

Dec.
9-12
1999

Dec.
28-29
1998

Dec.
18-21
1997

Dec.
9-11
1996

Dec.
15-18
1995

Dec.
16-18
1994

Dec.
17-19
1993

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

1.

Hillary (Rodham) Clinton

19

14

28

14

13

13

14

22

2.

Oprah Winfrey

4

6

8

5

5

4

4

2

3.

Margaret Thatcher

4

4

4

5

4

7

7

8

4.

Madeleine Albright

3

3

3

4

2

--

--

--

5.

Elizabeth Dole

2

4

6

2

5

1

--

1

6.

Barbara Bush

2

3

3

5

6

6

8

7

7.

Maya Angelou

1

1

2

2

--

1

--

2

8.

Sandra Day O'Connor

1

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

9.

Queen Elizabeth II

1

2

1

1

1

3

1

2

10.

Tipper Gore

1

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

Christine Whitman

1

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

Rosa Parks

*

1

--

--

--

--

--

--

Friend/Relative

8

12

13

13

16

13

14

11

Other

25

22

27

24

28

23

27

27

None/No opinion

34

33

29

34

25

31

29

29

*

Mentioned by less than 0.5 percent

--

Too few, if any, mentions recorded that year for name to appear on coded list of admired women

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