The 10 People Australians Admire Most

President Barack Obama waves in Darwin in 2011. Scott Barbour – Pool/Getty Images

When it comes to the people we most admire, sporting heroes don’t rate that high.

Apparently its politicians, who frequently appear in least-trusted lists, we most often admire, according to Roy Morgan Research.

In 2013 US President Barack Obama was named by 12.7% of Australians aged 14 and over as one of the public figures they most admire.

Of the five people whose names came up most often, only two were Australian: former Prime Ministers Julia Gillard (12.3%) and John Howard (7.7%).

Nelson Mandela and the Queen also made the top five.

Here’s the top ten:

There was a fairly even gender split among President Obama’s admirers, with 48.6% being women and 51.4% being men. Among former South African President Nelson Mandela’s admirers, the female-male breakdown was similar (54.4% women; 45.6% men).

In contrast, women named Julia Gillard and the Queen almost twice as often as men did, while men were far more likely than women to name former PM John Howard as one of their most admired public figures.

Further down the list, but still among Australia’s 10 most admired public figures, current Prime Minister Tony Abbott was more than twice as popular among men as women, and former Governor General Quentin Bryce was named by more than twice as many women as men.

Michele Levine, Roy Morgan Research’s CEO, says that despite the fact that State MPs and Federal MPs are among the least trusted professions, politicians are widely admired by all ages, with 64.7% naming at least one.

“But one has to wonder: are politicians so widely admired simply because they’re so omnipresent and unavoidable in Australian public life, compared to other ‘quieter achievers’?” he says.

“At any rate, these findings dispute the cliché that Australians revere sporting heroes above all others. The most admired sportsperson, cricketer Michael Clarke, staggered in at 52nd.”

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