The actress was voted the person who has given the best name to "celebrity humanitarianism" for her work as goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency.
The 32-year-old, who has three adopted children from poverty-stricken areas, was also recognised for her attempts to draw attention to suffering in Africa and arrange aid for displaced Iraqis.
Madonna was voted the least respected celebrity altruist in the survey of 606 people by Reuters AlertNet. Although she raised millions for orphans in Malawi, she was accused of using her influence to adopt a baby from the country without the normal legal procedures.
Peter Walker, director of the Feinstein International Famine Centre at Tufts University, said: "People aren't stupid. They can really sense when it's just an endorsement and when somebody really means it. Someone like Angelina Jolie comes across as having more integrity than some celebrities and a greater sense that she doesn't just do this for the publicity."
Jolie beat Bono, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the poll.
However, Bono also appeared among the top four worst celebrities, along with Madonna. Paris Hilton finished second after her aid trip to Rwanda was postponed, while Oprah Winfrey, whose South African girls' school was hit by scandal last month, came in third.