Wild about whom? The 2019 list of the world’s most-admired people

July 25, 2019

At this uncommonly divisive time—when people in the public eye simultaneously are being both celebrated and scorned—YouGov has released its 2019 list of the world’s most admired men and women.

This year, the study expanded to cover the views of people in 41 countries—the most respondents ever, with more than 42,000 people being interviewed to compile the list.

Michelle Obama (at an 8.8 “share of admiration”) has supplanted Angelina Jolie (6.8%) as the world’s most admired woman. In fact, the American actress, filmmaker, and humanitarian has fallen from first place last year to third place this year, with U.S. talk show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey coming second  (6.9%) on the 2019 list.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates (9.6%) remains the world’s most admired man. He’s topped the list every time YouGov has conducted the survey. In fact, the top five men remain unchanged since last year. Former U.S. president Barack Obama comes in second (9.2%), and the third to fifth places are all occupied by Chinese figures: actor Jackie Chan (5.7%) in third, president Xi Jinping in fourth (5.1%), and businessman Jack Ma in fifth (4.9%).

Only two new men join the top 20 this year—both of them, Indian actors: Shahrukh Khan (2.2%) and Salman Khan (1.7%).

However, the top 20 most admired women did include five new names. Two are married to the world leaders: Melania Trump (1.6%); and Chinese singer Peng Liyuan (3.9%), who is the wife of president Xi Jinping. They are joined by Chinese scientist Tu Youyou (3.5%), Indian actress Sushmita Sen (2.2%), and U.S. talk show host Ellen DeGeneres (2.7%).

Entertainers dominate the female list, with 12 of the most admired women being actresses, singers or TV presenters (although some, like Emma Watson (4.0%) and Angelina Jolie, are also notable for their humanitarian work). By contrast, the list of most admired men contains more people from political, business and sporting backgrounds.

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo (4.3%) and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (1.9%) have climbed the highest up the tables since last year, both having risen three places, to seventh place and seventeenth place, respectively. Indian actress Aishwarya Rai (2.7%) has fallen the furthest, down five places to 16th.

Within the United States, former President Barack Obama (19.9%) and his wife Michelle (15.4%) are the most-admired man and women. Barack Obama is tailed by Donald Trump (11.5%), Clint Eastwood (7.5%), Bill Gates (6.9%), and Dwayne Johnson (6.1%).

The most popular women in America after Michelle Obama are Ruth Bader Ginsburg (10.4%), Melania Trump (8.3%). Ellen DeGeneres (6.6%), and Queen Elizabeth II (6.4%).

Three of the Democratic presidential contenders also make it onto America’s most- admired list: Joe Biden is the sixth most-admired man in the USA (4.8%), followed by Bernie Sanders in the seventh spot (4.7%). Elizabeth Warren (2.7%) also made the list, as the 13th most admired woman in the country.

They aren’t the only political figures on the list. Condoleezza Rice (5.2%) and Hillary Clinton (4.5%) are, respectively, the seventh and eighth most-admired women in the country, followed immediately by former UN ambassador Nikki Haley (3.9%). Ivanka Trump (2.9%) also makes the list, as the 11th most admired woman in the United States.

Research contact: @YouGov

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