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

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

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.”

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.

Comments (23)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/20/2015 - 09:02 am.

    So ‘most admired’

    really means ‘names that have been in the news’.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/20/2015 - 09:10 am.

    Certain people *are* having second thoughts about Hillary’s viability….support among Democrats has dropped a full 15%

    And that’s before she appears before Trey Gowdy’s committee again, plus, the scandal over the Clinton Foundation hasn’t even fully developed yet.

    Still, having Al Jazeera backing her will be a big help, probably.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 03/20/2015 - 11:02 am.

      What are you guys on scandals now…0-5?

      Gowdy’s won’t be any different. Besides, you still have to contend with this..

      After all your efforts, that’s gotta sting.

    • Submitted by Ken Bearman on 03/20/2015 - 03:51 pm.

      The author (Jill Lawrence) isn’t Al Jazeera

      That last sentence is silly. Ms. Lawrence may back Hillary Clinton, but we don’t know if Al Jazeera does. Al Jazeera is a publication with a wide variety of contributors. According to the description at the end of Jill Lawrence’s article, “Jill Lawrence is a veteran journalist and political analyst who writes a national column for Creators Syndicate. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera America’s editorial policy.”

      On Mr. Swift’s theory, MinnPost is DFL or GOP or libertarian or something because it publishes pieces by authors who identify as DFLer or GOPer or libertarian or something. Or maybe MinnPost is whatever Mr. Swift espouses because it publishes what he writes.

  3. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 03/20/2015 - 09:36 am.


    she is on the “most admired” list then I wonder who is on the most loathed list.

  4. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 03/20/2015 - 10:24 am.

    What Hillary is up against

    After 6 years of predicting the sky is falling, the GOP has proven they have absolutely nothing, are leaderless, desperate, and a sad representation of a political party that is at war with themselves. The promise at the beginning of their being in control was that they will prove they can lead. They can’t lead without a leader. McConnell and Boehner are not leaders, they are barriers to progress. They have Scott Walker who led his state to below average performance. We can’t trust another Bush, Jeb, after the disaster that his family brought to America. They also have Rand Paul who appeals to a small fraction of the voters and 20+ others in the distant “Other” category. Let’s not forget the gems of the GOP – Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Bobby Jindal. The GOP debates will highlight exactly what the GOP has to offer. They will be tripping over each other trying to look presidential, but not having any viable credentials. None of the GOP candidates can come close to the practical experience Hillary has. Here is what the GOP has to work with – Benghazi, Hillary’s E-mails, Hillary’s pantsuits, Hillary’s hair, Bill’s infidelity, Whitewater, and probably a laundry list of other meaningless claims.

  5. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 03/20/2015 - 11:41 am.

    “Is that all there is”…old siren’s song?

    Poll or pedestal, the pedestal is chipped and could be viewed as a consolation prize when popularity fades?

  6. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 03/20/2015 - 03:05 pm.


    The email thing is pretty trumped up. All the “scandals” with regard to the Clintons are. The unfortunate thing for the people who drummed it up is that they timed it all wrong. By the time it matters, no one will care. As if they should right now. They probably don’t. I think there might be March Madness going on right now, so maybe they don’t.

    That being said, I want another Clinton in the White House only slightly more than I want another Bush in the White House. I find it really hard to believe that all the “brilliant” political planners out there can’t find someone else to put up front. Unless they’re waiting for a better time. I hope that’s what’s going on. Please tell me that’s what’s going on.

  7. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/20/2015 - 06:27 pm.


    So it seems that the greatest Clinton’s accomplishment was being “the most admired woman” with 12 percent rating… Wow! That will do it for the Democrats to vote for her in 2016 since there is no one else who has even minuscule chances.

  8. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 03/21/2015 - 12:03 am.

    Get ready

    It seems to me that unless she dies before 2016,Hillary Clinton is the inevitable Democratic candidate for the Presidency, if not the Presidency itself. She is a force. We just need to be ready for her.

  9. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 03/23/2015 - 04:12 pm.


    Hey Democrats…..please have H. Clinton as your candidate! Please!!!!

  10. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/24/2015 - 01:17 pm.

    Hey, Republicans–I have a tip for you…

    Put up a moderate, non-Bush candidate (if there is such a person) and you may have a chance of winning.

    In a contest between Clinton and the various fringers, Clinton wins because she will be a stop to fringe plans. It’s the same dynamic as was in the last election.

    Put up Bush, with a family that started three unsuccessful wars and were demonstrably good at breaking the economy, and put that against Clinton’s association with growing economy and relative peace–Clinton wins.

    There ya go–how to win.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/25/2015 - 09:40 am.

      How to win

      Reagan – won with two landslides
      Bush, Dole, McCain, Romney – all lost

      Conservatives win, moderates lose.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/25/2015 - 03:58 pm.

        Winners all!

        The “conservatives win” theory is amply demonstrated by Presidents Huckabee, Bachman, Santorum, Pat Buchanan, and . . . oh, wait, none of them won, did they?

        Never mind.

      • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 03/25/2015 - 05:37 pm.

        Reagan would not qualify as a conservative in today’s Republican party

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/26/2015 - 09:56 am.

        I would guess that Bruce Bartlett (senior policy adviser in the Reagan administration) would have a more informed opinion on Reagan’s conservatism in relation to today’s conservatives:


        • As a Hollywood actor, Reagan had been the head of a labor union, the Screen Actors Guild, and was proud of the higher pay and benefits he negotiated for his members. As president, he praised labor unions, saying, “Collective bargaining…has played a major role in America’s economic miracle. Unions represent some of the freest institutions in this land. There are few finer examples of participatory democracy to be found anywhere.”

        • Franklin D. Roosevelt was Reagan’s political hero and he voted for him for president 4 times. As president, he said, “F. D. R. was an American giant, a leader who shaped, inspired, and led our people through perilous times.”

        • As governor of California, Reagan signed into law the largest state tax increase in history up to that time. It increased California taxes by a third, including an increase in the top income tax rate. There were other tax increases as well, which raised the top rate to 11 percent from 7 percent when he took office, a 57 percent increase.

        • Also as governor, Reagan signed into law California’s first law permitting legal abortion – at the behest of his two most conservative advisers, Ed Meese and Lyn Nofziger. On other social issues as well, Gov. Reagan was far more progressive than his image. For example, he authorized conjugal visits for prisoners for the first time in the state and broadened environmental protection.

        • In 1981, Reagan proposed a large tax cut. But when deficits became a problem, he supported tax increases and signed 11 of them into law. Among them was the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, the largest peacetime tax increase in American history.

        • Reagan supported an increase in the capital gains tax to 28 percent from 20 percent as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

        • In 1986, Reagan supported an immigration reform that gave amnesty to 3 million illegal aliens. During the 1984 election, Reagan said, “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.”

        • At the Reykjavik Summit with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986, Reagan, to the horror of his advisers, offered to abolish nuclear weapons. To their relief, Gorbachev declined the offer.

        For these reasons, Barack Obama has often praised Reagan. Meanwhile, Republican leaders admit that Reagan would clearly be out of step with his party and would not be able to secure its presidential nomination today.

        (end quote)

        Sorry to burst your bubble,but saying that he would be a modern conservative just isn’t true..

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