Michelle Obama Named ‘Most Admired Woman,’ While Donald Trump Ends Barack Obama’s Record Streak

Jim Bennett/Getty Images; Mikhail MetzelTASS via Getty Images Michelle Obama (left), Donald Trump

President Donald Trump and former First Lady Michelle Obama were top-of-mind when Americans were asked who they admire most in an annual survey published this week by Gallup.

It's the third year in a row Mrs. Obama, 56, has topped the list for "most admired woman," while it's the first time Trump has edged out former President Barack Obama, who topped the survey as most admired man for 12 years prior.

Trump, 74, and Obama, 59, tied for first place in 2019. This year, however, the current president beat out his predecessor, with 18% of respondents naming Trump their "most admired man," versus 15% who named Obama.

An incumbent U.S. president has topped the annual list 60 times since 1964, when Gallup first began asking Americans the open-ended question: "What man that you have heard or read about, living today in any part of the world, do you admire most?"

The results of the poll were split almost evenly along party lines. Some 48% of Republicans named Trump as their top choice for "most admired man," while 32% of Democratic responders opted for Obama (13% of Democratic responders opted for President-elect Joe Biden, instead).

As Gallup notes, Trump only has a 39% job approval rate, but "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."

No public figure aside from Trump received more than 2% of Republicans' votes for "most admired man."

Others mentioned by survey respondents for "most admired man" include infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, Pope Francis, and Bill Gates.

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The responses for "most admired woman" were equally partisan, with First Lady Melania Trump leading among Republicans at 8%, followed by Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who received 4%.

Seventeen percent of Democratic responders named Mrs. Obama, while 16% named Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and 5% named Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

It's been a banner year for the Obamas, as the couple celebrated a pair of best-selling memoirs and a spate of Netflix projects, before spending time in Hawaii over the holiday season.

A recent Netflix documentary charted the success of Mrs. Obama's 2018 book Becoming, which continues to appear on best-seller lists a little more than two years after it was first published.

Mr. Obama's November release, A Promised Land, reportedly sold 1.7 million copies in its first week on sale, far outpacing other recent presidential memoirs.

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Trump, meanwhile, has had a different sort of 2020, losing reelection to Biden and mounting a series of unsuccessful legal challenges in an attempt to contest the results.

His final year as president has also seen Trump grapple with the biggest challenge of his administration: the still-spreading novel coronavirus pandemic.

Though he recently signed a COVID-19 relief bill after days of unnecessary delays, Trump has largely focused on his election loss rather than the pandemic.

In remarks Tuesday, Biden lambasted the president for what he argued was a far-too-slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

"The effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should," Biden said. "With only a few days left in December, we've only vaccinated a few million so far."

With just three weeks left in office, Trump has spent the final days of his presidency golfing, unveiling a slew of controversial pardons, and continuing to tweet about so-called election fraud. The Trump family is reportedly entertaining a move to Florida after they leave the White House, while the president mulls over plans for a future in politics.