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.
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.”
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.