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How a most-admired-woman poll connects to the Clinton email dustup

Political journalist Jill Lawrence tries to explain why Hillary Clinton’s remains a “powerhouse contender” in the presidential race.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking after being inducted into the Irish American Hall of Fame on Monday.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Writing for Al Jazeera America, political journalist Jill Lawrence opines that the imbroglio over Hillary Clinton’s email practices will blow over, and that Clinton remains a “powerhouse contender.”

I suspect she’s right on both scores, although certain people will take every imaginable measure to keep the email story alive and then follow it with something equally momentous, if necessary, to keep the former first lady, senator, secretary of state and Wellesley College student commencement speaker on the defensive.  

But Lawrence’s evidence struck me as pretty sketchy. One of the key data bits went like this:

“Clinton has been the country’s most admired woman for 19 of the last 22 years —  a run interrupted only by Mother Teresa in 1995 and 1996 and Laura Bush in 2001.”

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Well, Mother Teresa died in 1997 or she probably would have kept on cranking out those “most admireds.” And what would that have told us about Clinton’s chances to be president?

But what’s really great about the most-admired-woman achievement is that when Gallup asks what woman you most admire, it doesn’t supply any names to the respondents so the answers are all over the place. Clinton won it last year with 12 percent of responses, which actually placed her well behind “no opinion” with 26 percent.

If you’re curious, the most-admired runners-up last year (among women who were actually named by the respondents) were Oprah Winfrey and Malala Yousafzai.

By the way, of the 64 winners in the history of the most-admired-woman poll, 51 were sitting or former first ladies.