Hillary Clinton: The most admired woman in America

January 31, 2015, 3:22 PM GMT+0

Hillary Clinton is not only America's most admired woman, but is the third most admired woman around the world

See Most Admired in the world full details

The two towering figures of Democratic Party politics are also the most admired man and woman in the United States. In a massive study conducted by YouGov in the United States and around the world, the American public have said that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the most admired public figures alive today. Though Hillary has not officially declared her candidacy for the 2016 presidential elections, she is widely considered a favorite to follow Barack Obama into the White House. As this year's Most Admired survey shows, she enjoys widespread public esteem, both here and abroad.

Around the world Bill Gates is the most admired man, just beating Barack Obama into second place. Chinese President Xi Jinping comes in third, ahead of Jackie Chan, the most admired entertainer in the world. Angelina Jolie, actress and campaigner for global issues, is the most admired woman in the world, followed by the Pakistani schoolchild, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and education campaigner Malala Yousafzai. Hillary Clinton comes in third.

Hillary Clinton appears in the top ten most admired women in ten of the countries polled, including India (4th), Nigeria (5th), France (8th) and Britain (9th). In addition to being America's most admired woman, she is the second most admired woman in China. Even in Russia the former American Secretary of State is the 15th most admired woman. As former American Secretary of State she arguably had a greater global profile than any other American politician except Barack Obama, though John Kerry is absent from the list of most admired people, either in the US or internationally.

Among the men, the next two most admired figures are both religious leaders. Pope Francis I, the transformative new leader of the Catholic Church and the famed evangelist Billy Graham who by the 1970s had become famed as 'America's pastor'. Despite being the top global pick for the second year in a row, Microsoft founder and major philanthropist Bill Gates only comes sixth in the United States, between fifth place George W. Bush and the seventh place Dalai Lama. Brad Pitt, at number 11, is the most admired entertainer on the American list.

After Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai is the second most admired woman in the United States, followed by Michelle Obama and Condaleeza Rice. Two icons of the left and right also performed very well, with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren coming in sixth, while former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is the tenth most admired woman in the United States. Angelina Jolie, coming in at number 5, is the most admired entertainer among women, but Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey also make it into the top ten most admired women in the United States.


In December YouGov gathered open-ended nominations from panellists across 34 countries, asking them simply: “Thinking about people alive in the world today, which [man or woman] do you most admire?” These nominations were then used to compile a list of the 25 men and 25 women who received the most nominations and were nominated in at least 2 countries. An additional 5 popular local figures were added to the lists for individual countries.

In January, 23 of the 34 countries were polled again in representative* surveys, where respondents were asked two questions: “who do you truly admire?”, where they could make multiple selections, and “who do you MOST admire?”, where they could pick only one. These two numbers were then combined into the score (displayed to the right of each name above.)

By asking respondents those two questions, we can understand both the breadth (i.e. global reach) and the intensity of a person's support, which we regard as both important measures.

Altogether, we polled in countries that constitute nearly two-thirds of the world's population. However, some parts of the world were better represented than others, so we weighted up the impact certain countries had on the final scores and weighted down others so the global scores more accurately reflect the breakdown of sentiment in the world overall.

*All of the surveys were conducted online, and in many of the countries the internet penetration is low to the point where the sample can only be said to be representative to the online population. The countries where only the online population is polled are China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Singapore. In the remaining countries the surveys can be considered nationally representative.