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Former first lady Michelle Obama responds to questions as she is interviewed by actress Sarah Jessica Parker during an appearance for her book, "Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama" at Barclays Center Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
What becomes an icon most?
SHE WENT HIGH

Michelle Obama is the most-admired woman in the US

By Aisha Hassan

For the first time, Michelle Obama is the most-admired woman in the US, according to an annual poll conducted by global analytics firm Gallup.

It’s the first time in 17 years that another former first lady, Hillary Clinton, was not in the top spot.

Gallup asked a random sample of 1,025 adults across the US, in phone interviews in early December, an open-ended question about which living person worldwide they admired the most. Obama won by a wide margin in the female category: 15% of respondents mentioned her, while 5% cited Oprah Winfrey, and 4% referenced Clinton.

Other women who made Gallup’s list include Melania Trump, Queen Elizabeth II, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Obama has been touring the US to promote her memoir, Becoming—the best-selling book of 2018 just 15 days after its release. The media attention and positive reactions to the book, which covers everything from falling in love at work to imposter syndrome, might have contributed to Obama’s high ranking in the poll.

Gallup notes that Obama finished second to Clinton three times before taking the number-one spot. Clinton has been the named most admired 22 times, more than any other man or woman ever. (Gallup has conducted the poll every year except for one since 1946.)

In the men’s category, Barack Obama (19%) came first for the 11th consecutive year, and Donald Trump (13%) took second place for the fourth year in a row.

“This year marks only the 13th time in 72 measurements the incumbent president did not win,” Gallup pointed out. “Usually, the president does not win when he has subpar job approval ratings, as is the case with Trump.”

Other men whom respondents said they admired the most include George W. Bush, Bill Gates, the Dalai Lama, and Elon Musk.

There was a partisan split on Michelle Obama: She topped the list for 35% of Democrats but only 7% of Republicans. Just 9% of Republicans named Melania Trump, while only 1% of Democrats did.