The Measure of a President

During the Presidential campaign, much has been made of Barack Obama’s slender physique, with some commentators going so far as to argue that he is too thin for most Americans to relate to him. Does candidate height and weight play a role in electoral success? With Mr. Obama and John McCain set to square off in the second of three presidential debates tomorrow, it seemed worth taking a look through recent history.


Current election

and past elections

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3 Responses to The Measure of a President

  1. dan says:

    1) Researchers have been documenting for some time now that taller men are more likely to be successful in a business organization. But in modern presidential races it’s sometimes difficult to tell the differences in height because the candidates are only seen together during the debates, usually on opposite sides of a stage or sitting down. I hadn’t noticed that John McCain is 5’7” until recently. He never seemed to be a half foot shorter than George Bush when they are together. I would think most voters only see a candidate on TV where it’s difficult to judge height. Also in the statistic of taller candidates winning, FDR would get credit for four victories, even though he was always confined to a wheelchair. Also in another four of the elections the winner was only ½ inch taller and in another two the winner was only an inch taller. At end of the last debate, McCain sort of brushed past Obama when it was over and they were shaking hands. I assumed he just didn’t like the man but maybe he didn’t want cameras to focus on the height differential.
    2) Unrelated but interesting: I never see McCain appearing anywhere without his wife standing behind him. I never see Obama anywhere with his wife on stage. I think in the history of political campaigning it is very unusual for a presidential candidate to always have his wife appear with him at every single event.

  2. Darren says:

    They left off how many times the dumber candidate has won!

  3. Suzi says:

    I missed tonight's debate, but I caught an image of the candidates meeting (afterward, probably) to shake hands. I was taken aback; I'd *thought* Obama was tall, and I knew McCain was (relatively) short, but they were within a couple inches of each other height-wise in that image. Either Barack was in a pit or John was on a soapbox.

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