More Americans admire Barack Obama than Donald Trump: poll

Trump may be taking potshots at Obama, but more Americans look up to the sitting president than the incoming one

By Matthew Rozsa
December 29, 2016 10:42PM (UTC)
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FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2016, file photo, President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP)

President-elect Donald Trump has taken a few potshots at President Barack Obama lately (although he seems to be backing off), but as of right now, it seems more Americans admire Obama than Trump.

In Gallup's annual list of the men most admired in America, 22 percent of respondents chose Obama, while only 15 percent chose Trump, causing them to rank first and second respectively. While it is normal for sitting presidents to surpass incoming ones in the Gallup poll, this wasn't the case in 2008, when Obama beat George W. Bush as America's most admired man. He has held that spot each year ever since.


Trailing Obama and Trump were Pope Francis, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Rev. Billy Graham, former president Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Dalai Lama, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

By contrast, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was the woman most admired by Americans for a record-breaking 21st time. She earned 12 percent of the respondents' vote, compared to 8 percent for her runner-up, First Lady Michelle Obama. They were followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former talk show host Oprah Winfrey, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, Queen Elizabeth, human rights activist Malala Yousafzai, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Does this mean that Obama could have beaten Trump if he had been able to run for a third term? Though the Gallup poll didn't suggest this, Trump's razor-thin margins of victory in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan strongly indicate that he could have. Maybe that's why Trump has been sending hater tweets like these since Christmas.


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Barack Obama Donald Trump