Michelle Obama most admired woman in the world, new poll finds

Published: Monday, July 22, 2019 @ 1:49 AM

What You Need to Know: Michelle Obama

Former first lady Michelle Obama has taken over the title of most admired woman in the world, according to a new poll.

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YouGov expanded its annual list to cover the views of people in 41 countries, with more than 42,000 people deciding the 20 men and 20 women on the “most admired” list.

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Here’s how they did it. In December, YouGov gathered open-ended nominations from panelists across 41 countries, asking them: “Thinking about people alive in the world today, which (man or woman) do you most admire?” 

Using these responses, they compiled a list of the 20 men and 20 women who received the most nominations and were nominated in at least four countries. 

In January, YouGov used the lists to poll each of the 41 countries asking two questions: “Who do you truly admire?” (respondents could make multiple selections) and “Who do you MOST admire?” (only one pick allowed).

For the women, 12 of the 20 are entertainers: 

  • No. 2: Oprah Winfrey
  • No. 3 Angelina Jolie (No. 1 last year)
  • No. 5: Emma Watson
  • No. 7: Peng Liyuan (also wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping)
  • No. 10: Taylor Swift
  • No. 11: Madonna
  • No.13: Deepika Padukone
  • No. 14: Priyanka Chopra
  • No. 15: Ellen DeGeneres
  • No. 16: Aishwarya Rai
  • No. 17: Sushmita Sen
  • No. 20: Yang Mi

Six are world leaders or first ladies:

  • No. 1: Michelle Obama
  • No. 4: Queen Elizabeth II
  • No. 8: Hillary Clinton
  • No. 12: Angela Merkel
  • No. 18: Theresa May
  • No. 19: Melania Trump

Rounding out the top 20:

  • No. 6: Malala Yousafzai
  • No. 9: Tu Youyou

For the men, the results included not only politicians and entertainers, but also businessmen, athletes and religious figures. The top five are in the same order as last year.

  • No. 1: Bill Gates
  • No. 2: Barack Obama
  • No. 3: Jackie Chan
  • No. 4: Xi Jinping
  • No. 5: Jack Ma
  • No. 6: Narendra Modi
  • No. 7: Cristiano Ronaldo
  • No. 8: Dalai Lama
  • No. 9: Lionel Messi
  • No. 10: Vladimir Putin
  • No. 11: Warren Buffett
  • No. 12: Amitabh Bachchan
  • No. 13: Elon Musk
  • No. 14: Donald Trump
  • No. 15: Pope Francis
  • No. 16: Shahrukh Khan
  • No. 17: Imran Khan
  • No. 18: Slan Khan
  • No. 19: Recep Tayyip Erdogen
  • No. 20: Andy Lau

The Obamas are No. 1 in the United States, with President Donald Trump at No. 2 for the men and first lady Melania Trump at No. 3 for the women, behind Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

There are four male entertainers making the top 20 in the U.S.: No. 3 Clint Eastwood, No. 5 Dwayne Johnson, No. 10 Will Smith and No. 12 Jackie Chan.

You can check the entire list, plus the results for other countries, at yougov.com.

Michelle Obama and Gayle King participate in the 2019 Essence Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Saturday, July 6, 2019, in New Orleans.(Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)