President Donald Trump and his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama have tied for the title of America’s most admired man in 2019 – a result indicative of the country’s increasing political polarity.
Eighteen percent of the US voters quizzed in Gallup’s annual survey nominated Donald Trump as the man ‘living today in any part of the world’ that they admired most, while another 18 percent of voters also named former president Obama as a man of optimum acclaim.
No other name on the open-ended ballot – which included former President Jimmy Carter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders – was mentioned by more than two percent of respondents.
The results of the poll, which was carried out in the first two weeks of December, were split sharply along partisan lines – with 45 percent of Republicans selecting Trump for the top honor, and 41 percent of Democrats giving Obama the nod.
Trump received the support of only two percent of Democrats and 10 percent of the backing of independent voters.
Obama, meanwhile, secured just three percent from Republicans and 12 percent among independents.
Trump’s tie at top spot for Gallup’s coveted accolade comes after two successive years of placing second-best to Obama, who this year secured top spot for a record-equaling twelfth time.
Gallup noted that an incumbent president has typically been Americans’ choice for the most admired man, with the Commander in Chief having been named as the winner 58 out of the 72 times the survey has been conducted since 1948.
Most Admired Man 2019: Overall and by Party
US Adults: 18%
US Adults: 18%
Source: Gallup News
On the few occasions the sitting president has not reigned victorious, Gallup said it is usually because he is unpopular politically, which was the case for Trump in 2017 and 2018, where he secured approval ratings of just 36 percent and 40 percent respectively.
But at the close of 2019, Trump has registered his best presidential approval rating of 45 percent, offering an explanation for his change of fortunes in this year’s poll.
Obama’s 18 percent share of the vote is in line with his 2018 (19%) and 2017 (17%) results, all of which are considered high for a former president.
The only other former president to receive double-digit mentions after leaving office was Dwight Eisenhower.
Both Eisenhower and Obama were named the most admired man in the year each was elected president and all eight years they were office, plus three additional years.
Obama has finished first during his first three years after leaving the White House, while Eisenhower won once before he ran for president, in 1950 and twice after leaving office in 1967 and 1968.
The survey by Gallup is open-ended, and respondents can write in any name they want. As a result, 11 percent of Americans named a relative or friend as the man they admire most; 18% named another living man; and 25% didn’t name anyone at all.
Also mentioned among the top 10 list of America’s most admired men was Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Pope Francis, California Rep. Adam Schiff, the Dalai Lama and investor Warren Buffett.
Among America’s most admired women, former first lady Michelle Obama claimed the prize spot for the second year in a row and was the only woman to achieve double-digit support, securing 10 percent of the vote.
Current first lady Melania Trump finished second this year, mentioned only by five percent of voters – half the amount of Obama.
Melania did however fair better than Oprah Winfrey, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who all were named by 3 percent of respondents.
Most Top 10 Finishes in Gallup’s Most Admired Man Poll
1. Billy Graham 61
2. Ronald Reagan 31
3. Jimmy Carter 29
4. Pope John Paul II 27
5. Bill Clinton 26
6. Dwight Eisenhower 21
7. Richard Nixon 21
8. George H.W. Bush 20
9. Harry Truman 20
10. Nelson Mandela 20