Monday, November 5, 2012

Apple #609: Presidential Facts

So the Presidential election is only two days away.  Most news articles are quoting polls that show it's very close.  I have no idea who will win that race.  So I thought it might be interesting to try to predict the outcome on factors that no one else takes into account.  Factors that are of the utmost importance to the future of this country.  Characteristics completely crucial to determine the future and well-being of every man, woman, and child on the entire globe.

I am speaking, of course, about eye color.

That's right.  Eye color, height, weight, astrological sign -- these are all extremely important facts that combine to create the character of the man who will be our next President.

Who will be the winner, the man on the left in the blue tie, or the man on the right in the red tie?
(Photo from Just Jared)

(You know I'm kidding, don't you?  Some people take these things so seriously, I just wanted to make sure you were aware.)

So let's get down to brass tacks.  Who has the eye color that will win this election?


Barack Obama: brown
Mitt Romney: brown.

OK, so in this case, eye color will not be the deciding factor.  But!  Maybe this is why the race is so close!

In case you're interested, the majority of US Presidents have had blue eyes:
  • blue or blue-gray: 27
  • gray: 4
  • brown: 5
  • hazel: 4
  • black: 3

(That adds up to only 43 because I didn't count Grover Cleveland twice.)

Lyndon Johnson was the most recent President before Obama who had brown eyes.
(Photo from Wikipedia)


Barack Obama: 6'1"
Mitt Romney: 6'2"

Now, lest you think that the shorter candidate might prevail, actually, 58% percent of the time, the taller candidate has won.  67% of the time, the taller candidate has won the popular vote.

On this crucial trait, Romney is the winner.

Tallest President:  Abraham Lincoln, 6'4"
Shortest President: James Madison, 5'4"

6'2" Presidents: George Washington, Chester Arthur, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton
Other 6'1" Presidents: Andrew Jackson, Ronald Reagan

(Image from MunFitnessBlog)


Barack Obama: 176 lbs
Mitt Romney: 197 lbs

You might think the leaner candidate would have the edge, but historically speaking, it's actually the heavier candidate who has won.  Going back to 1900, in elections where the candidates were not tied in how much they weighed, the heavier President won 18 times out of 26. That's 69% of the time, for those of you doing the math.

Winner on weight: Romney

Heaviest President: William H. Taft, 332 lbs.
Lightest President: Jimmy Carter, 160 lbs.

Past President weighing ~176 lbs: John F. Kennedy
Past President weighing ~ 197 lbs: George H.W. Bush

Taft was also Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Maybe holding two such enormous roles explains why his girth was also enormous.  
(Photo from The Anti-Yale)


Barack Obama: 7
Mitt Romney: 4

Mitt Romney's real first name is Willard, but he doesn't go by that.  His name on the ballot is Mitt, so I'm going to by that.  Several Presidents went by less formal versions of their names, and that's how we know them (Jimmy Carter, for example, or Bill Clinton).  So the name Mittt prefers is the name I'll use.

The vast majority of the time, the candidate with more letters in his first name has won the election.  This one goes to Obama.

Going back to 1856, in elections where the number of letters in the candidates' first names was not the same, the candidate with more letters in his first name won 25 times out of 32. That's 78%.

President with the longest first name: Rutherford B. Hayes (10)
President with the shortest first name: Bill Clinton (4)

Rutherford B. Hayes. Frowning because his first name was twice as long as his last name?
(Photo from the White House)


Barack Obama: August 4 -- Leo
Mitt Romney: March 12 -- Pisces

Number of Leo Presidents: 4
Number of Pisces Presidents: 4

Number of elections Leos have won: 5
Number of elections Pisces have won: 8

Again, the edge goes to Romney.

Other Leo Presidents: William Henry Harrison, Herbert Hoover, Bill Clinton
Pisces Presidents: George Washington, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Grover Cleveland

I suppose you could make the argument that since no one has elected a Pisces since the 19th century, that sign seems to have fallen out of public favor.

George Washington: blue-eyed, red-haired (yes, it's true) Pisces
(Image from the White House)


OK, I'll stop myself right here.  I mention this only to point out that the future doesn't always mimic patterns from the past.

And that's a good thing.

By a number of criteria, Kennedy should not have won. He was skinnier than his opponent, his first name was shorter, he was a Gemini and there hadn't been any Gemini Presidents before, and he was Catholic.  But he won anyway.
(Photo from

Yes, I realize I just undercut any argument this entry might have been making.  But you knew this was all in fun, didn't you?

The White House, The Presidents
Bob Greene, "History Shows That The Eyes Have It," Chicago Tribune, October 3, 1988
US Election 2012 guide: Mitt Romney profile, The Telegraph, August 17, 2012
NewsOne, How Tall Is Mitt Romney? May 16, 2012
The Height Site, Presidential Height Index
The Measure of a President, The New York Times, October 6, 2008
Wikipedia, US presidential candidates since 1856
Eric Ostermeier, Presidents Day Special: The Astrological Signs of the Presidents, UMN Humphrey School of Public Affairs, February 15, 2010

1 comment:

  1. The fact that Romney is taller than Obama is shocking and disgusting. Who let this happen?


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