Billy Graham, Pope and Politicians Among America's Most Admired

Evangelist Billy Graham and Pope Benedict XVI are among the top ten people that Americans most admired in 2009, according to a new poll.

In the USA Today/Gallup Poll, Graham was ranked sixth in the list of men living today that Americans most admire – a result that comes as no surprise given that he has been on the top-ten list every year since 1955.

Pope Benedict XVI, meanwhile, was virtually tied with Graham with two percent of the open-ended survey's votes but was ranked one notch higher.

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Other than Graham and the pope, however, there were no other religious figures on the 2009 most-admired list – unless you're among those consider talk show host Oprah Winfrey an influential spiritual leader, as Christianity Today magazine concluded in 2002. Instead, both the men and women's lists were dominated by politicians and those connected to politics.

By far the person most admired by Americans in 2009 was President Obama, who garnered 30 percent of the votes. In second, among the men, was former president George W. Bush with four percent.

Overall, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was second on the list with 16 percent. She was also at the head of the women's list - a feat she's achieved multiple times over the past 16 years.

Since 1993, Clinton has either topped the most-admired woman's list or come in second. She first made the list as first lady, then as a New York senator, and now as Secretary of State.

Clinton was closely followed by former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin who received 15 percent of the votes.

Taking into account the margin of error, Clinton and Palin virtually tied as the most admired woman.

Other politically-related people who made the list included former president Bill Clinton, former South African President Nelson Mandela, First Lady Michelle Obama, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The survey of the most-admired man and woman by Americans has taken place nearly every year since 1948. The 2009 poll of 1,025 adults was conducted Dec. 11-13.

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