Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won the online reader’s poll for TIME Person of the Year, beating out other world leaders, artists and politicians as the most influential figure in 2016 among people who voted. The magazine’s editors decide the final Person of the Year, but poll results provide a look at how the world sees these figures.
Modi won with 18% of the vote when the poll closed Sunday at midnight. He placed well ahead of his closest contenders, including Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Julian Assange, who all received 7% of the “yes” vote. Modi also placed far ahead of other prominent figures of this year, like Mark Zuckerberg (2%) and Hillary Clinton (4%).
In recent months, Modi saw high approval ratings from Indians, according to a September Pew poll, and ratified the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Modi has come under scrutiny recently for getting rid of 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, impacting cash-based businesses and threatening India’s economy.
Every year, TIME selects the most influential person of the year, noting, for better or for worse, the person or group of people who have had the largest global impact over the past 12 months. In partnership with Opentopic and IBM’s Watson this year, TIME editors were also able to see how candidates were influential on the Internet.
TIME’S Person of the Year will be revealed on Dec. 7.
TIME’s choices for Person of the Year are often controversial
TIME’s choices for Person of the Year are often controversial. Editors are asked to choose the person or thing that had the greatest impact on the news, for good or ill — guidelines that leave them no choice but to select a newsworthy — not necessarily praiseworthy — cover subject.
The magazine has nominated several controversial figures as “Man Of The Year” since the tradition started in 1927, including Joseph Stalin, Nikita Kruschchev, and Ayatullah Khomeini. Osama bin Laden was strongly considered in 2001, but the the award went to New York mayor Rudy Giuliani instead.
In Time’s 1938 “Man Of The Year” article, Hitler was labeled the “greatest threatening force that the democratic, freedom-loving world faces today.” That was as much an endorsement of Hitler’s tactics in 1938 as it would be today: in other words, not at all.