First: This should really go in the distro forum.
Second: There are at least as many opinions as there are distros, perhaps as many as there are users.
Third: This topic comes up like _really_ often. Using the search function would yield huge amounts of answers (none of course being definitive)... Perhaps there simply should be a sticky topic called "the Distro War, month X". There is nothing as good for a community than a little flame war, eh?
Fourth: My opinion. Arch
. Perhaps not the newbie-friendliest of the lot.. but easy enough to install with my (then) five months of linux experience. Very easy to maintain as well.
Five: Don't be scared of the "hard" distros. You can't be a newbie forever. I wish