Trump and Obama Tie for Most Admired Man

The president's popularity is on the rise despite — or because of — impeachment.

Political Editors · Jan. 6, 2020

Gallup recently released its annual survey that asks Americans which man and woman they most admire. Over the 70 years in which Gallup has been conducting the poll, the sitting president generally takes home the title of most admired. That trend didn’t hold when Donald Trump became president, as he failed to supplant media darling Barack Obama. But things are changing, as the last survey finds Trump tied with Obama on the admirability scale, irrespective — or perhaps because — of the Democrats’ impeachment gambit.

For a little clarity, however, The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman notes, “Gallup is not saying that most Americans admire any of the winners, but rather that among the many people for whom Americans express admiration, the winners are mentioned most frequently. Messrs. Obama and Trump were each selected as the world’s most admirable man by 18% of U.S. adults.”

Furthermore, Hot Air’s Allahpundit cogently observes that one’s political considerations play an outsized roll in informing one’s opinion: “As politics gets more partisan, every ‘admired’ poll going forward will be a tie or near tie between the guy who’s currently in office and the guy from the other party who last held that office.” That’s because the biggest factor in considering the “admirability” of a sitting president is whether one likes or dislikes that president’s politics.

It’s one thing to admire or despise how a president conducts himself while in office; it’s another thing to embrace or reject the officeholder’s political agenda. For example, one can look favorably upon Obama’s seeming commitment to his marriage and family while deploring his political agenda, just as one can condemn Trump’s history of rudeness and philandering while celebrating his impressive policy achievements.

Finally, perhaps the best takeaway from this poll is that no matter who’s in office, the vast majority of us find someone other than our president to be most admirable. In America we elect presidents, not kings.

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