Singapore's Most Admired

Singapore's Most Admired

The Obamas remain Singapore’s most admired couple

Former United States President Barack Obama has again topped the list as Singapore’s most admired man, according to YouGov’s annual study of which public figures people look up to.

Following Barack Obama is Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates. Other billionaire entrepreneurs make up a significant part of the list. American business magnate Warren Buffet comes in third, Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma in fifth and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg in sixth.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong comes in eighth on the list. He is joined by singer JJ Lin in tenth, as the only other Singaporean in the top ten.

The top ten of most admired men is completed with entertainers. Hong Kong martial arts actor Jackie Chan comes in fifth, retired English football player David Beckham is in seventh, and Hong Kong actor Andy Lau in ninth.

Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama is Singapore’s most admired woman for the second year running. She is followed by Queen Elizabeth II.

Politicians make up a significant part of the list. Burmese politician and Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi comes in sixth, German Chancellor Angel Merkel in eighth, former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton comes in ninth, and former British Prime Minister Theresa May comes in tenth.

The rest of the top ten consists of entertainers. Talk show hosts Ellen Degeneres and Oprah Winfrey come in third and fourth, and Hollywood actresses Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson in fifth and seventh place respectively.

***Results based on 1,112 Singaporeans surveyed on YouGov Omnibus


In December YouGov gathered open-ended nominations from panellists across 41 countries, asking them simply: “Thinking about people alive in the world today, which [man or woman] do you most admire?” These nominations were then used to compile a list of the 20 men and 20 women who received the most nominations and were nominated in at least four countries. An additional 10 popular local figures were added to the lists for individual countries. 

In January we then used the lists to poll each of the 41 countries asking two questions: “who do you truly admire?”, where respondents could make multiple selections, and “who do you MOST admire?”, where they could only pick one. These two numbers were combined into a percentage share of admiration, displayed to the right of each name in the graphic above and table below, which shows the full results for every country including local celebrities and public figures:

Numbers show the percentage share of admiration for each person in 41 countries worldwide

Choose a country to see the most admired people worldwide


By asking respondents two questions, we can understand both the breadth (i.e. global reach) and the intensity of a person's support.

Altogether, we polled in countries that constitute more than two-thirds of the world's population. However, some parts of the world were better represented than others, so we weighted up the impact certain countries had on the final scores and weighted down others so the global scores more accurately reflect the breakdown of sentiment in the world overall.

All of the surveys were conducted online, and in many of the countries the internet penetration is low to the point where the sample can only be said to be representative to the online population. The countries where the online population is lower than 60% of the total are China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa and Thailand.