Singapore’s Most Admired

Singapore’s Most Admired

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong moves up four spots, and is now the fourth most admired man in Singapore

Former United States President Barack Obama has topped the list as Singapore’s most admired man for the third year in a row, 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 in second place. Billionaire entrepreneurs feature strongly in this year’s list, with Alibaba co-founder in third and American business magnate Warren Buffet in fifth.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is the only Singaporean man to feature in this year’s top ten, but has notably moved up four spots from last year, and is now the fourth most admired man in Singapore.

The rest of the top ten comprises of both world leaders and celebrities. Martial arts actor Jackie Chan comes in sixth, and actor Keanu Reeves in seventh. President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jin Ping is in eighth place, the Dalai Lama in ninth, and Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo in tenth.

Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama remains Singapore’s most admired woman for the third year running. Other world leaders also feature prominently in the top ten. Queen Elizabeth II comes in second, Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern in fourth, State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi in sixth, and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel in eighth.

President Halimah Yacob joins other world leaders, appearing in the top ten of most admired women for the first time, coming in seventh place. 

The rest of the list is rounded off with celebrities. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey comes in third, actress Angelia Jolie in fifth, singer Taylor Swift in ninth, and comedian and host Ellen DeGeneres in tenth.

Numbers show the percentage share of admiration for each person in 42 countries and regions worldwide



From January to March this year YouGov gathered open-ended nominations from panellists across 42 countries and territories, 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 5-10 popular local figures were added to the lists for individual countries.

Because the first wave of fieldwork was carried out before the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, some figures associated with leading national efforts to counter the disease did not make it on to the national admiration lists. This is unlikely to affect the global results, as such figures are generally only well-known in their own country and a candidate needs to be nominated in at least four countries to stand a chance of making the global top twenty (which it is less likely still they would have reached).

In fieldwork conducted from May to September we used these lists to poll each of the 42 areas 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:

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 seven-tenths 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 and territories where this applies are China (including Hong Kong), Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and the Philippines.