Asked by Stern news magazine to choose from a list of 12 possibilities, the esteemed former Chancellor won the hearts of 76 percent of the voters' hearts.
Political discussion show host Gunter Jauch came in second, with 64 percent of the 1,003 people asked, agreeing he would be a good role model.
Third place, with a respectable 59 percent was current chancellor Angela Merkel, despite her misjudged choice for the country's president – Christian Wulff – who incidentally only six percent of those asked said would make a good role model.
Presidential hopeful Joachim Gauck landed in fourth place, with 50 percent, ahead of national football team coach Joachim Löw with 48 percent.
Role model favourite Schmidt, 93, was the last chancellor to only rule West Germany, governing the country from 1974 to 1982.
His reputation for being an intelligent, sensible politician have arguably put him in the position of Germany's favourite chancellor – and has even led to tolerance of his chain smoking on television chat shows.
Alongside Wulff at the other end of Stern's popularity spectrum, however, was BMW CEO Martin Winterkorn, one of the richest men in Germany. Despite his wealth, only 16 percent of those asked said they thought he would make a good role model.
Resting in the middle were Holocaust survivor and literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki, conservative politician Ursula von der Leyen and TV personality Thomas Gottschalk.