The 15 Most Beloved U.S. Politicians

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U.S. Capitol
Orhan Cam /

During this tumultuous year, you may wonder if there is any government official who can unite us. That’s not likely, according to polling data from research firm YouGov.

Each week, the company polls a sample of people who mirror national demographics to see which politicians are their favorites — and ours. Their findings indicate that officials on both sides of the aisle have their fans, but there are few we all rally around. Only three figures are seen in a positive light by more than half of survey respondents.

Based on survey data from YouGov, here are the most popular politicians in America, as of the first week of September 2020. We start at the Number 15 and work the way to Number 1.

15. Ben Carson

Ben Carson
Christopher Halloran /

Affable and soft-spoken Ben Carson was seen by many as the kinder, gentler presidential candidate in the 2016 Republican primary. While the retired neurosurgeon wasn’t destined for the Oval Office, he did become Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a post he’s held since 2017.

According to YouGov, 36% of survey respondents have a favorable opinion of Carson.

14. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
lev radin /

Known as AOC by fans and detractors alike, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quickly made a name for herself during her first term in Congress.

Hailing from New York City, she represents parts of the Bronx and Queens. Ocasio-Cortez is a self-described democratic socialist who is more popular with millennials than baby boomers, according to the YouGov survey.

13. Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Joseph Sohm /

Hillary Clinton is the 13th most popular politician, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t polarizing.

While 37% of those surveyed have a positive opinion of the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, 47% hold a negative view. In addition to running for president, Clinton is a former secretary of state and wife of former President Bill Clinton.

12. Mike Pence

Mike Pence
mark reinstein /

The numbers for Mike Pence are similar to those for Hillary Clinton.

While 37% of survey respondents have a positive view of the current vice president, 43% have a negative opinion. In his prior position, Pence was the governor of Indiana.

11. Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi
Kim Wilson /

Representing California’s 12th District in Congress, Nancy Pelosi is also the speaker of the House. She is considered by many to be the leading voice for the Democratic Party.

She is more popular among baby boomers than millennials, and 38% of survey respondents overall have a positive opinion of her, according to YouGov.

10. Donald Trump

Donald Trump
Joseph Sohm /

Recognized by 98% of survey respondents, Donald Trump is the most famous politician in the YouGov poll.

As the current president of the United States, Trump has a devoted legion of fans. Overall, 38% of survey respondents have a favorable opinion of Trump, as do 44% of baby boomers. However, not everyone is enamored with him, and 52% have a negative view of the president.

9. Elijah Cummings

Elijah Cummings
Joseph Sohm /

Elijah Cummings passed away last year but he remains a popular figure in U.S. politics.

Described as respected, wise and brave by YouGov respondents, Cummings most recently served as a Maryland congressional representative. Prior to that, he rose to prominence as a civil rights advocate and a longtime member of the Maryland House of Delegates.

8. Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Andrew Cline /

Equally popular with all age groups and with both men and women, Elizabeth Warren may be best known for her recent run to be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee.

Calling herself one of the nation’s leading progressive voices, Warren currently serves as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts. The 39% of survey respondents who have a favorable opinion of the politician say she is honest, articulate and stands up for ordinary people.

7. Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Joseph Sohm /

Former President Bill Clinton eclipses his wife, Hillary Clinton, in this poll of popular politicians.

He lands in the No. 7 spot in these rankings thanks to the 40% of survey respondents who have a favorable opinion of him. Meanwhile, 38% have an unfavorable opinion of the 42nd president of the United States.

6. George W. Bush

George W. Bush
Joseph August /

George W. Bush is another popular former president.

Elected after Clinton, he edges out his predecessor in these ratings thanks to having a lower percentage of negative opinions. Although 40% of people have a favorable view of Bush, 31% view him unfavorably. Bush is slightly more popular with women.

5. Joe Biden

Joe Biden
Pix_Arena /

The current Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, is the fifth most popular politician in the U.S. right now, according to YouGov.

Biden served as vice president under President Barack Obama and was a U.S. senator from Delaware before that. He is more popular among baby boomers and slightly more popular among women.

4. Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders
Trevor Collens /

Backed by intensely loyal fans, Bernie Sanders was another candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Running on a progressive platform that called for canceling student debt and extending Medicare coverage to all, Sanders is especially popular among younger adults. Although 45% of all YouGov survey respondents have a positive opinion of Sanders, the number jumps to 53% for millennials.

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Joe Seer /

It’s been almost 10 years since Arnold Schwarzenegger was the governor of California, but he remains a popular politician.

The Austrian native is a former Mr. Olympia and bodybuilding champion who had a successful movie career before running for office. Nearly 60% of men and 55% of all survey respondents have a positive opinion of Schwarzenegger. Respondents describe him as charismatic, entertaining and manly.

2. Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Ron Foster Shari /

Former President Barack Obama is the second most popular politician in the United States, according to YouGov.

He is seen favorably by 55% of all survey respondents and 61% of millennials. Not everyone is a fan though, with 33% of respondents holding a negative opinion of the former president. Prior to becoming the first African-American president, Obama was a U.S. senator from Illinois.

1. Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter
Joseph Sohm /

Jimmy Carter wasn’t popular enough to earn a second term. But the 39th president of the United States has plenty of fans now.

Known for his humility and honesty, Carter, at age 95, is the oldest former president the nation has ever seen. Since leaving office, he has won a Nobel Peace Prize, helped build thousands of homes with Habitat for Humanity and reportedly still teaches Sunday School at his church. No wonder 55% of survey respondents have a favorable opinion of Carter and only 16% see him in a negative light.

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