The Slatest

Trump, Obama Tie for America’s Most Admired Man of the Year

Trump and Obama touch each other's shoulders while speaking face to face.
Former President Barack Obama congratulates President Donald Trump after he took the oath of office in D.C. on Jan. 20, 2017. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump has tied with his predecessor for the title of America’s most admired man of the year, according to Gallup’s annual poll. When asked which man they admired most in 2019, 18 percent of respondents named either the current or former president. Barack Obama taking the top slot is hardly surprising—he’s been there for the past 12 years. For Trump, however, it’s his first time winning the top spot on the survey.

The percentage of people naming Trump in the annual survey marked an increase from 13 percent in 2018 and 14 percent in 2017. That increase comes despite all the controversies surrounding Trump this year, including special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and impeachment. Yet, as Gallup points out, Trump receiving the top slot is in line with his increased popularity, considering he now has a 45 percent job approval rating, an increase from 40 percent in 2018 and 36 percent in 2017.

For Obama, on the other hand, things have remained pretty steady, as the 18 percent backing he received this year was largely in line with the 19 percent he got last year and 17 percent in 2017. All of those figures are quite unique for a former president, considering Dwight Eisenhower is the only former president who received double-digit backing as America’s most admired man after leaving office. As could be expected, there’s a significant split across party lines: 41 percent of Democrats named Obama, while 45 percent of Republicans picked Trump. Independents were pretty evenly split between the current and the former presidents.

The survey is open-ended, meaning respondents can write any name they want. That resulted in a significant number of people—11 percent—writing down the name of a family member or friend. No other man received more than 2 percent support.

When it comes to women, Michelle Obama received the top slot with 10 percent, which marked a 5-point decline from last year. First lady Melania Trump came in second place with 5 percent, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Greta Thunberg, each of whom were named the most admired woman by 3 percent of Americans.