Benedict XVI is a role model for more than half of all Germans, according to the recent poll by Forsa. In advance of the pope's five-day visit to southern Germany starting Saturday, the polling agency asked 1,000 people who they looked up to and admired out of internationally-known personalities -- 55 percent responded with the head of the Catholic Church, who was born Joseph Ratzinger.
Admiration was obviously higher among Catholics -- 72 percent of those surveyed answered that they looked to Benedict as a role model. Meanwhile, the rate was lower among the young -- 51 percent of people between the ages of 14 and 29 said they held that view.
Still, in another recent poll, almost every second person surveyed said that it didn't matter that the pope was German even as 45 percent of respondents said they were proud of that fact.
The Dalai Lama scores
Even ranking higher than the pope was the Dalai Lama and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: 61 percent of those polled chose the former as a role model while 56 percent did so for Annan. US President George W. Bush made a poor showing with 9 percent of the vote.
Among German personalities, respondents ranked TV presenter Günter Jauch highest with 63 percent, followed by sports personalities Jürgen Kinsmann and Steffi Graf with 62 percent each.
Political personalities didn't do as well, with 54 percent of those polled saying they admired German President Horst Köhler and 45 percent choosing German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a role model.
Sports stars Michael Schumacher and Dirk Nowitziki each received 43 percent; almost a quarter of respondents selected TV presenter Eva Herman, who has come under criticism for her views on the role of women, as a role model and only 8 percent said they would hold DaimlerChrysler chief Dieter Zetsche as such.