Sorry, Trump: Your arch-nemeses Obama and Clinton are still "most admired" Americans

The president has a deep inferiority complex with these two. Here's hoping he's seething

By Nicole Karlis

Published December 27, 2017 6:09PM (EST)

 (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP/Carolyn Kaster)

The current U.S. president usually ranks number one on Gallup’s annual “Most Admired” poll. Yet this year, former president Barack Obama snagged the spot as “Most Admired Man”—and Hillary Clinton won the title “Most Admired Woman." Ironically, the two of them are perhaps Trump's least-liked people on Earth. Between tweets, comments, and Trump's "birther"-conspiracy obsession with Obama, it is often suggested that Trump has an inferiority complex.

This is Clinton's sixteenth consecutive year winning the title, albeit she’s held it 22 times in total—more than any woman in history. Obama is only the second former president, next to Eisenhower, to place first after his presidency. Overall, this marks Barack Obama’s tenth consecutive year holding the title.

“Trump's unpopularity is holding him back from winning the most admired distinction. The incumbent president is the usual winner, since he is arguably the most prominent figure in the country — but when the president is unpopular, other well-known and well-liked men have been able to finish first,” the report states.

Barack Obama trumped Donald Trump, who ranked second, 17 percent to 14 percent. Hillary Clinton surpassed Michelle Obama by 2 percent. Other names on the list of men include Pope Francis, Rev. Billy Graham, John McCain, Elon Musk, Bernie Sanders and Bill Gates. On the “Most Admired Woman” list, Clinton is accompanied by Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Warren, Angela Merkel, Queen Elizabeth, Condoleezza Rice, and yes, Melania Trump, who ranked eighth out of the top ten.

The annual “most admired” poll has been published 71 times since 1946. According to the report, the incumbent president has won 58 of those 71 times. Donald Trump joins former presidents Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush as among those who did not place first during their presidencies.

Votes for each winner, Obama and Clinton, mostly came from poll respondents who identified as Democrats. Twenty-two percent of Democrats polled chose Clinton; 12 percent chose Obama. Eight percent of Independents chose Obama, while 5 percent chose Clinton.

Trump won among Republican poll respondents: thirty-five percent named him as the man they most admire. One percent of Republicans named Obama.

This is Trump’s seventh time making the top 10 on the list.

It’s no secret that Trump considers Obama a nemesis. Trump's crusade against Obama dates back to 2012, when Trump made it his mission to prove Obama wasn’t born in the United States. Likewise, Trump publicly made countless insults to Hillary Clinton during his 2016 campaign.

The poll of 1,049 adults was conducted Dec. 4–11, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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