Donald Trump Just Bested Barack Obama In This Poll

Americans have strong opinions about the men who have held the highest office in our country. We either love or loathe our presidents, and there doesn't seem to be much of a middle ground. (Okay, maybe the average citizen today might be neutral about Franklin Pierce and Millard Fillmore.) The current White House occupant is no exception: President Trump has both millions of staunch supporters and millions of people who wish he had stuck to hosting The Apprentice instead of running for office. 

Considering that a majority of Americans opted not to reelect Trump to another term, one might assume that says something about the popular opinion of the president. Surprisingly, though, the annual Gallup "Most Admired" poll reveals that for the first time since he took office, President Trump has been named the most admired man. What's more, he beat out Barack Obama, who had held the "most admired" title for the past 12 years.

The national polling firm surveyed 1,018 Americans by phone between December 1-17 for their yearly report. The question they were asked was, "What man that you have heard or read about, living today in any part of the world, do you admire most?" Respondents were also asked to name their most-admired woman.

Trump is admired, but not widely approved

Donald Trump actually tied Barack Obama for first place in 2019, but this year he pulled ahead by receiving 18% of responses to the former president's 15%. Rounding out the top five admired men were President-elect Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Pope Francis. It's worth noting, however, that another 21% of those surveyed didn't name anyone at all, and another 11% cited a family member or friend as the guy they look up to. 

Gallup points out that in the 74 years since they began asking the question, the sitting president has been the top choice 60 times. Trump may also have edged out Obama along party lines: 48% of Republicans surveyed named Trump over any other political figure, while Democrats split their votes between Obama, Biden, and Fauci. And despite Trump's ranking on the admiration list, only 39% of Americans said they actually approve of his job performance.

Gallup's most-admired woman of the year is usually the current first lady, though not the case again in 2020. Michelle Obama took the top spot for the third year in a row with 10% of the votes, while Melania Trump came in third with 4%. Second place went to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and the polling firm predicts she might well come in at No. 1 next year. But the woman who has most often occupied a place in the top ten isn't even American: Queen Elizabeth has made the list an impressive 52 times.