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Clinton was named the most admired woman in 1993 and 1994 for the first two years of her husband Bill Clinton's presidency.

It's the first time in 17 years former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton didn't top the list.

Fifteen percent of respondents mentioned Obama, putting the former first lady ten points ahead of the second most admired woman, Oprah Winfrey. First Lady Melania Trump rose to fourth place.

After nearly two decades leading the pack, Hillary Clinton has ceded her title as "most admired woman" to former first lady Michelle Obama, who in recent months stepped into the spotlight while promoting her memoir and sharing her quick-witted candor to overflowing crowds. The person can be anyone in the world.

This year marks the 13th time since the poll began in 1946 that the incumbent president did not win.

With the release of her new book Becoming that sold nearly one million books in the first week, Michele Obama has solidified her place as an iconic figure across the globe.

Other women on the list include Angela Merkel, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ellen DeGeneres, Nikki Haley, Malala Yousafzai and Nancy Pelosi. Winfrey has appeared among the top 10 most admired women 31 times. Obama is considered the most admired woman according to 15 percent of those polled.

Since the list was started Clinton has been the most admired woman 22 times, which Gallup says is more than any other man or woman.

Gallup conducted its annual survey from December 3-12 this year.

Following in third was another former US president, George W. Bush. Dwight Eisenhower now holds that honour.