Michelle Obama and Bill Gates top YouGov list of most admired people in the world

Megan C. Hills

YouGov has released the results of an international poll to discover the most admired men and women in the world.

The poll, which interviewed upwards of 42,000 in 41 different countries, released a worldwide ranking which comprises politicians including the Obamas and the Trumps, entertainers, sports professionals and royalty.

Although Angelina Jolie may have topped the list of most admired previously, former First Lady Michelle Obama took the top spot and Jolie slid down two places to third, just behind Oprah Winfrey and followed closely behind by Queen Elizabeth II.

Angelina Jolie (Getty Images)

Other names to make the list include Harry Potter actor Emma Watson, activist Malala Yousafzai, Hillary Clinton (who slid down three places) and musician Taylor Swift.

Newcomers to the top ten also included Peng Liyuan, the wife to Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Nobel Prize winner Tu Youyou.

Most Admired Women in the World

  1. Michelle Obama
  2. Oprah Winfrey
  3. Angelina Jolie
  4. Queen Elizabeth II
  5. Emma Watson​
  6. Malala Yousafzai​
  7. Peng Liyuan
  8. Hillary Clinton
  9. Tu Youyou
  10. Taylor Swift
  11. Madonna
  12. Angela Merkel​
  13. Deepika Padukone​
  14. Priyanka Chopra
  15. Ellen Degeneres​
  16. Aishwarya Rai​
  17. Sushmita Sen
  18. Theresa May​
  19. Melania Trump
  20. Yang Mi
(Getty Images)

The list of most admired men resembled previous years, with Microsoft founder Bill Gates retaining his place at the top of the list. The four next most admired men also remained the same as the last poll’s results, with Barack Obama, actor Jackie Chan, Xi Jinping and Alibaba founder Jack Ma following Gates’ lead.

Footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi also climbed the list, rising three and two places respectively into the top ten. Indian PM Narendra Modi also featured on the list alongside the Dalai Lama. Vladimir Putin, who took tenth place, experience the largest fall in the rankings for men - plummeting down four spots.

Most Admired Men in the World

  1. Bill Gates
  2. Barack Obama
  3. Jackie Chan
  4. Xi Jinping
  5. Jack Ma​
  6. Narendra Modi
  7. Cristiano Ronaldo
  8. Dalai Lama
  9. Lionel Messi
  10. Vladimir Putin
  11. Warren Buffett
  12. Amitabh Bachchan​
  13. Elon Musk
  14. Donald Trump
  15. Pope Francis​
  16. Shahrukh Khan​
  17. Imran Khan
  18. Salman Khan​
  19. Recep Tayyip Erdogan
  20. Andy Lau​
Sir David Attenborough in Iceland ahead of BBC's new natural history series Seven Worlds, One Planet. (PA)

UK-specific results differed to the global rankings. For example, UK participants viewed presenter Sir David Attenborough as the most admired man and many royals featured on the list as well including Prince William, Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales.

British politicians also featured, with Nigel Farage taking seventh place and Jeremy Corbyn following closely behind in ninth. Trump did not make the top ten, but did slide into eleventh.

Most Admired Men in the UK

  1. David Attenborough
  2. Barack Obama
  3. Prince William
  4. Prince Harry
  5. Bill Gates
  6. Dalai Lama
  7. Nigel Farage
  8. Charles, Prince of Wales
  9. Jeremy Corbyn
  10. Pope Francis
  11. Donald Trump​
  12. Elon Musk
  13. Lionel Messi
  14. Jackie Chan
  15. Cristiano Ronaldo
  16. Warren Buffet
  17. Vladimir Putin​
  18. Imran Khan​
  19. Recep Tayyip Erdogan​
  20. Narendra Modi
(Getty Images)

For Brits, Queen Elizabeth was the most admired woman in the UK - with an admiration score that nearly doubled second place holder Michelle Obama’s.

While they didn’t appear on the global ranking, Dame Judi Dench and JK Rowling followed in third and fourth place respectively. British and European politicans also featured on the list, with Green Party MP Caroline Lucas taking sixth place, German PM Angela Merkel taking seventh, Theresa May taking ninth and Scottish politician Nicola Sturgeon taking tenth.

Most Admired Women in the UK

  1. Queen Elizabeth II
  2. Michelle Obama
  3. Dame Judi Dench
  4. JK Rowling​
  5. Malala Yousafzai
  6. Caroline Lucas
  7. Angela Merkel
  8. Oprah Winfrey
  9. Theresa May
  10. Nicola Sturgeon
  11. Emma Watson
  12. Holly Willoughby
  13. Ellen Degeneres
  14. Hillary Clinton
  15. Angelina Jolie
  16. Madonna
  17. Taylor Swift​
  18. Melania Trump​
  19. Priyanka Chopra
  20. Tu Youyou

Participants were asked three questions to determine the results, the first of which was, “Thinking about people alive in the world today, which [man or woman] do you most admire?”

Following the answers, YouGov compiled a shortlist of men and women and asked participants “who do you truly admire?” and “who do you MOST admire?” to calculate a definitive admiration score - used to inform the rankings.

The full list and country-specific rankings can be viewed on the official YouGov site here.