In the annual poll conducted by Gallup to question Americans about whom they consider to be the most admired man and woman “living today in any part of the world,” U.S. President Donald Trump was the most frequently mentioned name.
Of the 1,018 U.S. adults surveyed by Gallup in December 2020 about which living man they admire most, 18% of respondents named the current president of the United States:
Trump and former President Barack Obama tied for the honor in 2019, but the 2020 results marked the first time in 12 years that Obama did not finish at or tied for the top spot.
As Gallup noted, the incumbent U.S. president is commonly one of the most frequently named persons in their annual poll:
The incumbent president is usually top of mind when Gallup asks Americans to name, without prompting, which man living anywhere in the world they admire most. In the 74 times Gallup has asked the open-ended most admired man question since 1946, the incumbent president has topped the list 60 times. Harry Truman (1946-1947 and 1950-1952), Lyndon Johnson (1967-1968), Richard Nixon (1973), Gerald Ford (1974-1975), Jimmy Carter (1980), George W. Bush (2008) and Trump (2017-2018) are the incumbent presidents who did not finish first in past years.
When the sitting president is not the top choice, it is usually because he is unpopular politically. That was the case in 2017 and 2018 when Trump had 36% and 40% approval ratings, respectively, and finished second to Obama as most admired man.
Even though Trump is similarly unpopular now — [only] 39% approve of his performance — his dominant performance among Republicans, contrasted with Democrats splitting their choices among multiple public figures, pushes him to the top of the 2020 most admired man list.
Former first lady Michelle Obama ranked in 2020 as the most admired woman for the third year in a row.