Saucers of Mud

June 7, 2008

Fun with Small Sample Sizes

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 6:08 pm

One often hears something along the lines of “No non-Southern Democrat has won the White House in almost fifty years” (though not that much this year). Here’s a similar factoid I came up with: no non-incumbent Democrat over the age of 55 has won the White House since Woodrow Wilson. And he was 56. To get someone who was over 56 when elected (even Cleveland was only 55 when elected, as a non-incumbent, to his second term), we have to go back to James Buchanan, on everyone’s short list for worst President ever.

Clearly either the Democrats were very wise to nominate Obama, or these factoids are hooey.



  1. For instance, there only was one Democratic president between Buchanan and Wilson.

    Comment by matt w — June 7, 2008 @ 6:10 pm

  2. I’m half-tempted to find some sort of correlation between astrological signs and the Presidency.

    Comment by Cala — June 9, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

  3. Only four men whose surnames begin with a vowel have ever become president: two Republicans, one Democratic-Republican, and one Federalist. Of these men, only one won California (although he did it twice). Them’s pretty long odds!

    Comment by Ben — June 10, 2008 @ 10:12 pm

  4. And I don’t think anyone whose name ends with a pronounced real vowel (that is, not ‘y’) has ever become president. Certainly not an ‘a’. This is closer to an actual fact.

    Comment by matt w — June 11, 2008 @ 6:00 am

  5. Yeah, but Monroe, McKinley and Kennedy all end with true vowel sounds (unlike Pierce, Fillmore or Coolidge). Therefore your analysis is REFUTED!

    It’s a pity the Republicans didn’t nominate Huckabee or Giuliani, or we would be guaranteed of making history by electing the first sounded-vowel-ending-surnamed president of these great United States of America.

    Comment by Ben — June 11, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

  6. Didn’t say true vowel sounds ’cause I already thought of Monroe, McKinley, and Kennedy.

    Comment by matt w — June 11, 2008 @ 3:41 pm

  7. I know you thought of them, but your factoid is wronger than my factoid. Kennedy ends with a pronounced real vowel. It just doesn’t end with a spelled real vowel.

    Comment by Ben — June 12, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

  8. Atrios took your title.

    Comment by andrew — June 14, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

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