Gretchen Koch takes a stab at the question. Her answers are interesting, but what I appreciated most was her initial reaction to the question itself:
The [Gallup] poll asks "What man/woman have you heard or read about, living today in any part of the world, do you admire most? And who is your second choice?" I admit that if you called me on the phone and asked me this question impromptu, I would have some trouble coming up with my "best" answers. I don't keep a list of heroes in my head, because usually it's not something important to consider unless you are asked for a Gallup poll, or, say, a job interview (why having a good answer to this question is an important quality in a receptionist, I'm not sure). I couldn't tell you my top five movies or bands, either. It's not because I'm apathetic or without preferences, just that ranking such things never really seemed that important.
Without giving them a great deal of thought, I would also be hard pressed for responses to these questions. I admire many people for different reasons. Ranking them would be comparing apples and orange, but maybe I overthink admiration. Perhaps admiration rankings are something people with more common sense are better at than I am.