By Joy Allmond
The 10 men and women Americans say they most admire are still mostly political figures. But key faith leaders have also been mainstays on Gallup’s “Most Admired” list for decades.
The most recent poll results, released Dec. 27, indicate Pope Francis retained his third-place position from last year, and Billy Graham moved up a notch from fifth place to fourth. The Dalai Lama dropped from sixth place to a three-way tie for the No. 10 spot.
Other faith leaders who were mentioned, but who did not make the top 10 include: Joel Osteen, Pope Benedict XVI, and Thomas Monson.
Graham, who turns 100 this year, has made an appearance on the list 61 times—more frequently than anyone else.
According to a recent LifeWay Research study designed to gauge Graham’s impact on American Protestant churchgoers, nearly half (48 percent) of those surveyed say they have tuned in to at least one of his televised sermons. Eleven percent have attended one of his evangelistic events, known as “crusades.”
Only 4 percent of those surveyed by LifeWay Research indicated they had never heard of Billy Graham.
“We’d be hard-pressed to find another American Christian leader who has that kind of name recognition,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.
Other 2017 Gallup poll results stayed on trend with years past.
Almost everyone on the 10 most admired men’s and women’s lists are political figures. Former U.S. President Barack Obama retained the top spot among the most admired men from the 2016 poll.
Hillary Clinton stayed in the No. 1 spot among women for the 16th consecutive time, at a record total for 22 appearances at the top of the list.
Of the 71 times the Gallup poll has been administered since 1946, the incumbent U.S. president took the top spot 58 of those times. Obama is the first former president to win the top honor since Eisenhower in 1968—nearly eight years after his presidency ended.
The top 10 men and the percentage who said they admired them the most:
1. Barack Obama (17)
2. Donald Trump (14)
3. Pope Francis (3)
4. Billy Graham (2)
5. John McCain (2)
6. Elon Musk (2)
7. Bernie Sanders (1)
8. Bill Gates (1)
9. Benjamin Netanyahu (1)
10t. Jeff Bezos (1)
10t. The Dalai Lama (1)
10t. Mike Pence (1)
Nine percent said they admire a male relative the most, and 26 percent had no opinion.
The top 10 women and the percentage who said they admired them the most:
1. Hillary Clinton (9)
2. Michelle Obama (7)
3. Oprah Winfrey (4)
4. Elizabeth Warren (3)
5. Angela Merkel (2)
6. Queen Elizabeth (2)
7t. Condoleezza Rice (1)
7t. Melania Trump (1)
9. Nikki Haley (1)
10t. Duchess Kate Middleton (1)
10t. Beyoncé Knowles (1)
Thirteen percent said they admire a female relative the most, and 27 percent had no opinion.
Gallup asked open-ended questions to more than 1,000 Americans over the age of 18 via cellphone and landline Dec. 4-11, 2017.
JOY ALLMOND (@JoyAllmond) is managing editor of Facts & Trends.