Bush, Hillary Clinton most admired in US

By Arun Kumar, IANS

Washington : By an odd twist two persons standing across the political divide, Republican president George W. Bush and Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, have emerged as the most admired man and woman in America in 2007.

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Sharing the honour for a sixth straight year, the former first lady and the current occupant of the White House were just a notch ahead of popular TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey and Bush’s predecessor Bill Clinton, according to a USA Today-Gallup poll.

Sitting presidents usually top Gallup’s list of the country’s most admired man, and this year is no exception. Bush leads, as the choice of 10 percent of those polled, but this time he’s in a statistical tie with former president Bill Clinton, at eight percent.

In the last survey, there was an eight-point margin of separation, with Bush leading 13 to 5 percent, and a 17-point difference in a 2004 poll.

Former vice president Al Gore, who won several high-profile awards – including the shared Nobel Peace Prize – in 2007 for his work to raise awareness about climate change, also shot up in the poll. He is now in third place with six percent – five percentage points higher than last year.

Hillary Clinton’s Democratic rival in the presidential race Barack Obama nudged out evangelist Billy Graham and former South African President Nelson Mandela for fourth place with five percent.

Four Republican presidential hopefuls, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Rudy Giuliani also make the list – all at one percent.

Hillary Clinton, hoping to be president-elect by the time of the next poll, was named by 18 percent as the most-admired woman, the 12th time she’s been in the top spot.

But Winfrey, who has campaigned for Obama, is statistically tied with the New York Senator at 16 percent. Both have gained in this year’s poll.

Hillary Clinton was at 13 percent in 2006 while Winfrey was at nine percent. First lady Laura Bush and actress Angelina Jolie were each selected by three percent.

The poll, released Wednesday, asked participants an open-ended question, allowing them to respond with any names that came to mind. The rest of the votes were spread among a wide variety of government figures, movie stars, friends and relatives. Queen Elizabeth II was in the top 10 for a record 41st time.

The poll of 1,011 adults was taken between Dec 14 and 16 and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.