Donald Trump may not be the greatest U.S. president, but it is true he will leave the White House without many of the accolades he warranted.
He likely won’t receive the Nobel Peace Prize he arguably deserves for peace breaking out in the Middle East. On rare occasions, his critics have grudgingly acknowledged his Operation Warp Speed and the effort to defeat the coronavirus in record time, yet as life gets back to normal with the increased availability of a vaccine, the media undoubtedly will heap praise on the basement-dweller-in-chief. Nor will Trump get credit for creating the most booming economy in a half-century, before the COVID crash.
However, the folks, as Bill O’Reilly might say, have recognized what our cultural and political elites refuse to admit.
Thus, the president, for this year, is the most admired man in America.
The Gallup organization on Tuesday released its annual survey of the man and woman whom Americans look up to most.
Considering ladies first, former first lady Michelle Obama took Gallup’s honor for the third consecutive year, with 10 percent of the vote. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, with 6 percent, was the runner-up. Current first lady Melania Trump came in third, with 4 percent.
For his part, Trump dethroned the 12-year reign of Barack Obama.
The president got 18 percent support, compared to 15 percent for Obama. Trump had tied Obama last year.
Gallup pointed out that the incumbent president typically sticks in respondents’ minds. The “most admired” title has gone to the sitting president 60 times in the 74 years Gallup has asked this question.
As Gallup explained, “When the sitting president is not the top choice, it is usually because he is unpopular politically.”
“That was the case in 2017 and 2018” the group said in a report, “when Trump had 36% and 40% approval ratings, respectively, and finished second to Obama as most admired man.”
Yet, Gallup added, “Even though Trump is similarly unpopular now – 39% approve of his performance – his dominant performance among Republicans, contrasted with Democrats splitting their choices among multiple public figures, pushes him to the top of the 2020 most admired man list.”
Yes, Republicans who have heard for years that they should be ashamed and embarrassed by Trump, put him over the top as most admired American.
Forty-eight percent of Republicans identified Trump as such; no other public figure got more than 2-percent support from the GOPers.
In contrast, Obama ranked first among Democrats with 32 percent. That, however, was down nine percentage points from a year ago. President-elect Joe Biden, who finished third overall, got 13 percent from Democrats.
Interestingly, political independents split evenly between Trump and Obama, said Gallup, as each man was ranked first by 11 percent of them.
Gallup concluded, “Past, present and future White House occupants, whether presidents or first ladies, have figured prominently when Gallup has asked Americans to name the man and woman they admire most. As such, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden are likely to remain strong contenders for the most admired man title in the coming years.”
But, the organization added, “Should Trump continue to dominate Republicans’ consciousnesses – currently, Republicans rarely name any other public person than him – he will have a good chance of winning in future years, especially if Democrats continue to split their choices between Obama and Biden.
For 2020, rounding out the top 10 were: Dr. Anthony Fauci, Pope Francis, tech businessman Elon Musk, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, NBA superstar LeBron James, and the Dalai Lama.
This year was the 10th time Trump has finished in the top 10.
It’s unlikely he’ll come close to matching the man with the most top 10 finishes throughout all of Gallup’s long history of posing this question.
Among all American men ever considered for Gallup’s most admired list, the late evangelist Billy Graham made 61 visits to the top 10.