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TODAY viewers want Chilean miners to win TIME title

Tune in to TODAY on Wednesday to see TIME unveil its selection for "Person of the Year."

TODAY viewers voted in an online poll that TIME magazine should deem the Chilean miners "Person of the Year."

TIME managing editor Rick Stengel revealed the short list on TODAY on Monday. The six finalists also included Julian Assange, the Chilean miners, Steve Jobs, Hamid Karzai and Mark Zuckerberg.

One of these six will be named the magazine's "Person of the Year" live on TODAY Wednesday.

When announcing the short list, Stengel said the miners were part of the "feel-good story of the year. It's a story of human courage and pluck," he added.

The TIME "Person of the Year" has been selected since 1927. The title is given to the person, group or thing that has most influenced the culture or the news during the past year, for better or for worse. See the short list below, listed with a breakdown of how TODAY viewers voted.

1. Chilean miners (with 44 percent of the vote)Most mining accidents end in disaster, and not many people expected the story of 33 Chileans trapped half a mile underground this autumn to be any different. They'd been undetected for 17 days, facing the likelihood of starvation and death; once found, they were pushed to the limits of survival for another two months, relying on their leadership skills and rations sent by narrow tube from above. The world was watching — about a billion strong — when they emerged, and their humanity, courage and endurance marked them as instant heroes.

2. The Tea Party (with 20 percent of the vote)The big player in American politics this year was a throwback to Revolutionary times: the Tea Party, a loose affiliation of citizens united by their dislike of big government, in particular as practiced by the current President. Leaderless by design, but propelled and invigorated by figureheads Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, the Tea Party routed conventional wisdom (and candidates) in elections across the country, sending many an incumbent home in favor of new blood that has vowed to shrink Washington down to size.

3. Mark Zuckerberg (with 19 percent of the vote)More than half a billion people on the planet live in a world created by Mark Zuckerberg. The good news is, their friends all live there too. Zuckerberg founded the social networking site Facebook in his college dorm six years ago, but 2010 was the year that Facebook reached critical mass, both in sheer quantity of users and in its presence (through its "connect" features) all over the web. Zuckerberg spent much of the year fighting privacy concerns, and this fall he had to shake off a movie that depicted him as an alienated loner, hacking to get girls. But the world's youngest billionaire has no plans to slow Facebook's growth, nor does it show any sign of stopping.

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4. Julian Assange (with 10 percent of the vote)He got our attention with his Afghan and Iraq war logs — vast document dumps made available by his organization WikiLeaks that gave a detailed look at the way our wars are progressing, or stagnating. But it's Assange's latest trove of diplomatic cables — not classified top-secret, but hardly meant for public consumption — that has the world's leaders on edge. As if cablegate weren't providing enough of a news storm, Assange, a native Australian, is also implicated in a Swedish sex-crimes investigation; he has turned himself in to British police, while WikiLeaks claims to be under cyberattacks by governmental forces that want to silence the site. But Assange has promised there are more documents to come, and if past is precedent, they're bound to be equal parts embarrassing and riveting.

5. Steve Jobs (with 6 percent of the vote)Nobody is better than Jobs at outdoing his past successes. In 2010, he launched the iPad, that "magical" tablet touchscreen computer — bigger than an iPhone, smaller and friendlier than a laptop — that quickly became the it gadget of the year, selling a million units in a month. This was also the year that Apple overtook Microsoft as the most highly valued tech company. You need only look around at the global proliferation of Apple phones, pods and pads to see how fully Jobs' creations have permeated the market, on the merits of their own design and as platforms for a seemingly infinite number of apps that have changed the way we interact through the web and, often, with each other.

6. Hamid Karzai (with 1 percent of the vote)As the U.S. prepares for its planned drawdown in 2011, Karzai, the elected leader of Afghanistan, faces the prospect of governing his fragile nation without a powerful military to back him up. So far he's chosen a course of pragmatism, allowing for negotiations with the Taliban and enlisting support from NATO, and he has spoken out about his dissatisfaction with the U.S. war effort. With the country's parliamentary elections this year beset by allegations of fraud, Karzai has some work to do to establish legitimacy, but as the head of a volatile state, one of great strategic importance in the war on terror, both his words and his actions command the world's attention.

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