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Trump beats Bill Gates in Most Admired poll (but loses to Obama)

Commentary: A Gallup poll asks people whom they admire most. The president-elect comes in second.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


"You beat me? You?"

The Washington Post/Getty Images

Is there anyone left to look up to?

Or are all the greats tainted one way or another, as the internet reveals their less salubrious aspects?

A new Gallup poll set out to answer this question: "What man that you have heard or read about, living today in any part of the world, do you admire most?"

It's a faintly sexist question, isn't it? For some reason, women were given a separate poll. Still, the results show that it's possible for Donald Trump to be both a winner and a loser.

The US president-elect received 15 percent of the votes cast by a random sample of 1,028 adult Americans between December 7 and 11. That's 11 percentage points higher than Pope Francis, 13 percentage points higher than Bernie Sanders and 14 percentage points higher than the top-ranked tech candidate -- Bill Gates.

He did, however, trail one man: President Obama. And by a healthy 7 percentage points.

Was this vote rigged? I can find no evidence that it was. The poll, conducted by phone, is held every year, and President Obama won it for the ninth year in a row.

For Trump, though, this result still represents enormous progress.

In 2011, he got a mere 1 percent. The following three years he barely registered. Last year, he got 5 percent. And now second place, with Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg lost in the dust, perhaps wondering what they have to do to be as admired as the president-elect.

Among women, it was almost an Obama family clean sweep. Michelle Obama (8 percent) came in second to Hillary Clinton, whose 12 percent was down one percentage point from last year. Still, her win means that Clinton is now America's most admired woman for the 21st year running.

Other notables were German chancellor Angela Merkel, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. Sarah Palin, at 1 percent, trailed such luminaries as Queen Elizabeth and Condoleezza Rice.

No women in tech featured at all. Now that's something it would be good to alter in 2017, isn't it?