A recent USA Today/Gallup poll sought to find out who American adults think the most admirable people in the world were this past year, and evangelist Billy Graham was listed as the fourth most admired man.
Graham has finished in the list’s top 10 more than any other person – 55 times. However, he has never claimed the number one spot. In this year's poll, Graham finished behind three American presidents – Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Businessmen Warren Buffet and Bill Gates took the fifth and ninth spots on the list, respectively, while religious leaders Pope Benedict XVI and Thomas Monson, president of the Mormon church, took spots eight and ten. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich tied with Donald Trump for sixth in the poll.
Another famous Christian, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, barely missed the top ten by finishing 11th in the poll, but was ranked higher than the Dalai Lama.
Despite having never finished first in the survey, Graham has clearly been a dominant figure on the list over the years. In addition to his record number of top 10 finishes, he has ranked second in the polls eight times, including a six-year stretch from 1969-1974.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was named the most admired woman for 2011, followed by Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin. Behind Palin were Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush, Margaret Thatcher, and Ellen Degeneres. In ninth place is Queen Elizabeth II, who also has never been claimed the top spot but holds the most top 10 finishes among women – 44. Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachman was ranked tenth.
The results of the poll are based on telephone interviews conducted with 1,019 American adults between Dec. 15-18.
Although Graham hasn't actively preached for the last seven years, the 93-year-old Graham still remains one of the most influential and well-respected Christian leaders in the U.S. today.
In October, Graham released his 30th book, Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well. After dealing with a bout of pneumonia in the hospital earlier this month, Graham's staff announced that he will be working on another writing project, which will summarize “the message he has proclaimed for more than 60 years, incorporating thoughts and discussions on that topic that occurred during his hospitalization.”
Graham has personally met with 12 U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama, and played a significant role in the founding of over 30 ministries. He has also preached in front of over 215 million people in 185 different countries, plus the millions who have watched his television broadcasts, during his lifetime.