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Results of CNBC's Winners & Losers of 2010 Poll

Wednesday, 8 Dec 2010 | 12:09 PM ET

The results of our second annual Winners & Losers poll are in and there are more losers than winners.

The results are also pretty clear-cut, with one exception— Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the only returning candidate from 2009.

It was a relatively close vote.

That was not the case for President Obama, Chris Dodd, Tony Hayward, Lebron James, Lindsey Vonn and Mark Zuckerberg,

Click ahead for the results of all the candidates.

American Dream: Going, Going Gone

American Dream (Homeowner, Taxpayer, Worker)

This one was not the landslide we expected. About two in three voted for loser, given the litany of woes: unemployment, home foreclosures , debts and deficits, taxes, political dysfunction, endless wars.

Surprisingly, 18 percent saw the bright side—whatever that is. Even more surprisingly, 17 percent said neither.

Ben Bernanke: Ease To Please

Ben Bernanke
Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke,
Fed Chairman

More people voted on the Fed Chairman than any other candidate in our list, but he failed to get a majority either way.

That said, he was deemed a winner by a slight margin.

Clearly, he successfully advanced his agenda. Bernanke has become a combination of the Shell Answer Man and the U.S. Cavalry for those frustrated and spooked by the performance of the economy . Whether it is suffering fools on Capitol Hill or delivering QE II , Bernanke has been there when needed. But in going where no Fed boss has gone before, he is ripe for second-guessing and potential defeat. He could wind up the big loser.

John Boehner: No Means Yes

John Boehner,
Republican Majority Leader

Boehner and company trounced the Democrats in the midterm ,and for that he is one of the big winners of our poll. Fifty-six percent voted that way.

Boehner is something of the Mickey Rourke character in “Diner”, a rough-edged leader surrounded by quasi geeks, who are smarter than him, but not terribly charismatic. (One or two of them, however, may challenge him for the leadership down the road.)

Why could Boehner be a loser? Leading a large Republican majority in the House with a Democrat president soon in re-election mode may be more a case of death hug than gridlock. The coming 112th Congress could be a lost one. Thirty-four percent voter loser.

Check back next year.

California Governor: Dream On

Meg Whitman
Meg Whitman

California Governor Candidate: Meg Whitman

This is a complicated one, because it is more about the post than the person. For that reason, we asked you to vote on both the election winner ( Jerry Brown ) and loser (Meg Whitman).

The question is—given the wretched state of the economy and the bitter medicine necessary to correct it, who on earth would want this job?

So does winning make you a loser and losing make you the winner? Or does winning make you the winner and a loser? Clearly, a loser is a loser. Fifty-nine percent deemed Whitman such.

Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown

California Governor: Jerry Brown

Here's the consolation for Whitman. A slightly smaller percentage found her Democratic opponent—now governor-elect—a loser.

Given the wretched state of the economy and the bitter medicine necessary to correct it, only 30-percent found Brown a winner.

Clearly winning makes you a loser?

Chris Dodd: Winning Ugly

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT)
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT)

Chris Dodd (D-Conn),
Senate Banking Comm. Chairman

Having wisely chosen not to run for re-election, the 35-year, Washington veteran escaped near inevitable election defeat, but not at the hands of our voters.

Three out of four deemed Dodd a loser—the second biggest majority for any individual. Not many were undecided.

Dodd can still boast legacy legislation—the Wall Street financial reform act —which though unpopular is certainly weighty and almost unprecedented in scope. The question is will it be unraveled? Dodd may not be finished; is he the next Treasury Secretary? If so, chances are we'll see him in this space next year.

ETFs: Steroid Stocks

Stock Chart
Stock Chart

Exchange Traded Funds

Not too long ago, ETFs were considered boring, low-cost financial instruments with a tax edge over mutual funds. That was before the steroids and high-speed trading . ETFs may also have had a supporting role in the Flash Crash of May 2010 . There are more of them than ever, in all shapes and sizes, and they‘re still low-cost and tax friendly. Some say they’re an investor’s new best friend; others say they may be public enemy No. 1.

Clearly NBF ruled the day, with 51-percent voting winner.

EMU: Indebted To Each Each

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Map of Europe

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The setbacks and embarrassments of the sovereign debt crisis clearly spelled failure to most of our readers. The pact may very well survive its first great test but that will probably have to wait for next year.

Eighty percent voted loser. Only five percent said neither.

Free Currencies: Foreign Policy

Japanese 10,000 Yen bank notes
Japanese 10,000 Yen bank notes

Free-Floating Currencies

Like too big to fail last year, this is a pretty weighty one and—given the capacity for current events to change things—it may be too soon to tell.

So much for free market optimists out there. Fifty-three percent voted loser.

Worth noting is that much of the talk about competitive devaluation's has disappeared in recent days.

Tony Hayward: Sink And Sail

Tony Hayward
Tony Hayward

Tony Hayward
Ex CEO BP

Put aside the irony, trading in your job as boss of BP for a life of sailing isn’t bad, especially when you remain employed and well compensated. At the same time, the infamy of the Gulf oil spill is not something one would want attached your one’s name.

We worried this one might be too clear cut for our standards, but almost 20 percent voted either winner or neither.

Lebron James: Hit And Miss

Lebron James,
Miami Heat

Having failed to get to the NBA final round, never mind win a championship, James turned his free agency into a three-ring circus (me, myself and I) hurting his image and just about everyone else but the city of Miami. It may be hard, however, to judge James until the end of the 2011 season, whenhis talent-packed team will either succeed or fail in winning a championship.

We may have to revisit this in 2011, but now for now the verdict is decisive. Almost three out of four voted "loser."

Leno & O'Brien: The Show Must Go On

Jay Leno
Tonight Show Hosts

Another two-fer, so to speak—as the fate of the two late-night talk show hosts turns on one subject, “The Tonight Show.”

So, who’s the winner and loser here? Leno’s prime time show was deemed a colossal failure and yanked by the network, prompting a return to his old show.

Our voters are hardly crying, "encore, it seems. Fifty-two percent voted Leno a loser. Thirty-nine percent checked "winner".

Pres. Obama: Before/After

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

President Obama

With all due respect to the office and the man, we simply couldn't resist including the Prez. He was victorious pushing through one of the most ambitious legislative programs since Ronald Reagan, but the stunning midterm defeat for the Democratic Partyarguably puts him on the losing end.

A stunning majority voted for the latter and only 7 percent said "neither." The president, however, received less votes than Fed boss Bernanke.

Politics: Lost

Politics in America

America’s revolving door approach to government continued, while bipartisan bigotry hit a new high this year. A new political party made an impression with voters and loosened the two-party stalemate, but in the end it may have been business as usual:Vote out the incumbent and give the opposition a chance to fail. So, you tell us, party preferences aside, was the midterm election a win or loss?

Somewhat surprisingly, not only six out of ten people voted "winner", but just 5 percent opted for neither.

Mary Shapiro: Flash Dance

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Mary Shapiro

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OK, she’s no Tim Geithner—or Shelia Bair—for that matter. It’s hard not to like Mary. And were it not for the Flash Crash (see ETFs), we might be willing to give her a pass on inclusion in this list. Shapiro, however is a regulator in the hot seat.

Shapiro’s SEC hasn’t been the toughest cop on the beat (it seemed to let Goldman Sachsget off easy) nor has it been the best detective in investigating the crash.

At the same time, Shapiro has managed to avoid major criticism while maintaining ample credibility on both the Hill and the Street, something predecessors Chris Cox and Harvey Pitt could not do.

Still, Shapiro was deemed a loser by a more than two-to-one margin.

Linsdey Vonn: Slippery Slope

Lindsey Vonn,
Olympic Skier

Judged strictly on the hype, the American Olympic skier probably fell (oops) short of expectations in Vancouver. Of course, injury and bad luck (icy conditions) didn’t help.

She did, however, manage to win a couple medals. Vonn also achieved media darling and advertising-magnet status , but again her performance was somewhat disappointing, lacking the contagious personality of speed skater Apolo Ohno.

Nevertheless, 60 percent voted her a winner.

Mark Zuckerberg: FaceMan

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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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OK, he’s not exactly citizen Kane, but he’s just in his twenties. He's already fabulously wealthy and Facebook happens to be the most visited website in the world.

Zuckerberg is the big winner among individuals this year, with some two-thirds voting that way.

Almost one out of three found him a loser. After all, the Facebook founder was ripped to shreds in the biographical Hollywood movie, ‘Social Network’ , his $1 million donation to the Newark public school system flopped as cynical PR stunt and there’s growing privacy concerns about his social media company . Few were undecided .

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