Our Heroes: All-time top 10?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Our Heroes
1946 Man of the Year James F Byrnes

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW OUR “MOST ADMIRED” OF THE PAST? When Gallup began listing Americans’ “most admired” men and women, in 1946, this man was named TIME Magazine’s Man of the Year. James F. Byrne was U.S. Secretary of State for less than two stormy years. At the end of 1946, he looked like an anti-Stalin Cold War hero. Now, Byrne is all but forgotten. Among your heroes, who do you think will be remembered in half a century?

Admiration is an emotional feeling of approval, respect, and esteem. An archaic meaning of the term is “wonder”—someone or something that is truly amazing, astonishing, or surprising. So far this week, we’ve examined the latest Gallup rankings of the “most-admired” men and women in the world. But Gallup has been asking the most-admired question for decades.

Who’s on Gallup’s all-time list? Do they create awe and wonder?

First, the men’s list. Who’s been on the top ten list more times than anyone else? I’ll give you a hint. It’s a religious figure.

If you guessed Billy Graham, you’re right. In the latest Gallup poll, the 95-year-old evangelist and Baptist minister—and spiritual advisor to several presidents—ranks #5 on the most-admired man list. He has been in the top ten 56 times before. He has the most top ten finishes of any man.

Ronald Reagan comes in second, making 31 top-ten lists. Jimmy Carter is third, with 28 top-ten finishes. The rest of the top-ten men’s list from 1946 to 2013 includes Pope John Paul II, Bill Clinton, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Harry Truman, Nelson Mandela, and Edward Kennedy.

How about the all-time most admired woman? Gallup began asking about the most-admired women in 1948. From then until now, who’s made more top ten lists than any other woman?

That distinction goes to Queen Elizabeth II. She’s been on 46 top-ten lists. Second comes another Brit: Margaret Thatcher, with 34 appearances on the top ten list. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is third, followed by Oprah Winfrey, and Hilary Clinton.

The rest of the all-time most admired women includes Mamie Eisenhower, Barbara Bush, Margaret Chase Smith, Nancy Reagan, Mother Theresa, and Clare Boothe Luce.

Are you surprised to learn that Billy Graham has more top-ten finishes than any other most-admired man?

Or that Queen Elizabeth holds the same distinction for the most-admired woman?

Do they inspire awe and wonder in you?

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