Update: We are re-upping this post in light of the pope's statement Thursday suggesting Donald Trump "Is not Christian." Trump responded by saying Francis's comments are "disgraceful." The below post is from December.
The second most admired man? A tie, including a potential future White House occupant: Donald Trump. He was tied with Pope Francis.
Trump and the pope were the top picks of 5 percent of respondents, just ahead of Bernie Sanders, the pick of 3 percent. Sanders wasn't on the list last year. The pope was in second place, as he is now. Since 2008, Trump has only received 1 percent of the pick once — in 2011, the last time he made noise about running for president.
There is an element of this that is a name-recognition contest, of course. Very few people last year had heard of Sanders; now they have. But Trump's position is still unusual. Even in 2011 and 2012, when he was the front-runner for the nomination, Mitt Romney only garnered 1 and 2 percent of the response, respectively. In 2008, John McCain got 3 percent.
Last year we posited that being president (or first lady) was the best way to become the most admired person in the country. An addendum: Running for president isn't a sure-fire winner, but, at least now, it helps. Trump, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz all got some support; none of the non-outsider candidates did, keeping with the year's theme.
And if running for president isn't your bag, you just need to become pope. Lots of paths here.