The top vote-getters for 2014, announced on Monday, were no surprise: Barack Obama claimed victory in the male category for the seventh straight year, while Hillary Clinton extended her even more impressive run as “most admired woman” for the 17th time in the last 18 years, a record for the survey.
The most eyebrow-raising entrant on either list, however, was Vladimir Putin, who slipped into a tie for 10th place (with Israeli’s Benjamin Netanyahu) after being named by 1 percent of respondents. In cracking the top 10, the widely condemned invader of Ukraine earned more votes than Vice President Joe Biden, the last two Republican and Democratic presidential nominees (before Obama), two ex-presidents (Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush), George Clooney, and the Dalai Lama. He even beat out Bono. …
[T]he question was open-ended, meaning that at least a half dozen people, without being prompted with a list, responded with Putin when asked, “What man that you have heard or read about, living today in any part of the world, do you admire most?”
And it’s not as if Putin is a fixture on the annual list. He hasn’t received a single vote since 2010, and nobody cited him as their “most admired man” in seven of the last 10 years. His stronger showing in 2014 comes during a year in which he drew near-universal scorn for ordering the annexation of Crimea and sending troops into eastern Ukraine.