They’re both steely, gutsy women, admired by some and loathed by others. And when the Gallup poll asked Americans to name, without prompting, which woman they admire most, Hillary Rodham Clinton beat Sarah Palin – barely.
Mrs. Clinton won “most admired woman” for the 14th time since 1993, the year she became first lady, and has continued to win most of the time as a New York senator and now Secretary of State. She took the prize with 16 percent. Former Alaska Governor Palin, who debuted on the Top 10 list last year at No. 2, came in second again with 15 percent, four points higher than last year. Clinton lost four points off her 2008 total of 20 percent.
President Obama won “most admired man” going away, with 30 percent, in results released by Gallup on Wednesday. Former President George W. Bush came in a distant second, with 4 percent. Last year, Mr. Obama beat Mr. Bush 32 percent to 5 percent.
On both lists, partisan leanings mattered. Obama won among Democrats and independents, but Bush beat him among Republicans. The women’s list is just as polarized: Clinton won among Democrats with 28 percent, followed by Michelle Obama (14 percent), Oprah Winfrey (13), Maya Angelou (2), and Sonia Sotomayor (2).
Among independents, Palin and Clinton tied with 14 percent, followed by Ms. Winfrey (8), Mrs. Obama (3), and Queen Elizabeth II (3). Among Republicans, Palin rules with 34 percent, followed by Clinton (6), Winfrey (4), Condeleezza Rice (3), and Obama (2).
But even if next year could be crucial in the Palin vs. Clinton duel, the former Republican vice presidential nominee has a long way to go to catch up to Clinton for all-time mentions. Clinton has appeared on the Top 10 list 18 times, while Palin, still relatively new on the national stage, has appeared twice. The all-time winner for Top 10 appearances among women is Queen Elizabeth II, at 42. The overall winner, men and women, is the Rev. Billy Graham, who has appeared 53 times. This year, he came in sixth at 2 percent.
Gallup first polled on “most admired living person” in 1946 (when Gen. Douglas MacArthur won). In 1948, Gallup began polling separately for most admired man and most admired woman.
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