Mike the Mad Biologist

The Death Primary: McCain Wins

A while back I came across a survey that reported more people would not vote for a 72 year-old than for a Mormon (which, given the bigotry against Mormons, is pretty remarkable). So, I wanted to figure out how likely it was that each of the remaining candidates would keel over in office. Who knows? Maybe the public does know something after all.

Using these mortality tables developed by the CDC, I figured out what the probably would be that a given candidate would die in office. Here are their ages upon assuming office for reference:

Obama: 47

Clinton: 60

Huckabee: 53

McCain: 72

And here’s the likelihood of croaking:

Huckabee: 6.7% (must be all the Jesus. Not really. Just math, even if he claims he studies miracles, not math).

Clinton: 7.9%

Obama: 7.9% (see, there really is no difference between them….)

McCain: 30.0%

McCain’s the big winner. Given that he’s started using the slogan “Day One” to mean that he can hit the ground running once he’s elected, someone might want to raise the point that the odds aren’t so great he’ll reach Day Two Thousand….

Comments

  1. #1 chezjake
    February 14, 2008

    It will be very interesting to see who McCain comes up with as a running mate, since that’s who people would basically be voting for.

  2. #2 Matthew Platte
    February 14, 2008

    Running mate? It’ll be Condi, of course. Duh.

  3. #3 Joshua Zelinsky
    February 14, 2008

    This isn’t a fair comparison at all. First, the President likely has some of the best medical care on the planet which should give reduced likelyhoods for all of them (on the other hand the job is very stressful so not sure how that should balance out). Second, we know a lot of the medical history of many of the candidates. McCain’s medical history should increase his chance of dying substantially.

  4. #4 Becca
    February 14, 2008

    Did you consider Obama black, white, or split the difference?
    I’ve always wondered about mixed races and life expectancy.

    And you should factor in the risk of getting assassinated.

    Also, there are probably better ways of estimating the deaths taking into account more of their personal traits (I really wish I could get them all to take the ‘what’s your real age’ quiz, or something similar- not because it’s accurate in itself, but because I’m curious how the comparisons would work out).

  5. #5 SLC
    February 14, 2008

    Something doesn’t compute here. How can Huckabee be less likely to die in office then Obama when he’s 6 years older?

  6. #6 Science Avenger
    February 14, 2008

    With respect to Joshua’s comment, presidents seem to age about 3x as fast as the rest of us while in office. If you doubt me, just go look at some photos of Dubya when he first ran for office. So this actuary’s opinion is that Mike’s an analysis is conservative. I’d do the analysis for 10 years rather than 4.

  7. #7 Tatarize
    February 14, 2008

    But, we don’t know how the presidency ages women. Never having had a woman president.

    Also the race charts aren’t nearly as helpful as you’d think. Probably doesn’t have anything substantial to do with genetics anyway, if anything there are other differences like income which probably account for the difference. I’d figure you could average the life expectancy with half-black along with blacks just as easily as anything else.

  8. #8 blf
    February 15, 2008

    chezjake’s point that a vote to ask the electoral college voters to vote for The Ancient One is, with an alarming high probability, really asking them to vote for SomeThing Else, is what has finally gotten me slightly interested in the farce (er, sorry, “election”): There seems to be a lot of talk that SomeThing Else could be Huckabee (needed to “get the real conservatives on-board” or some such garbage), making a “vote” for The Ancient One a backdoor route for The Totally Insane.

  9. #9 Andrew
    February 15, 2008

    McCain probably is the most likely to die in office, but that’s about as far as I’d go.

    These are actual specific individuals we’re looking at, not statistical abstracts. With what we know about their personal medical history, a more detailed analysis would be possible.

    All are wealthier than the average American, with better access to health care (and as Joshua said, excellent health care if they are elected). Assuming that higher black mortality is due to poverty, Obama probably shouldn’t be considered black in the analysis. Huckabee spent a fair number of years overweight, which I suspect would put him at a higher risk of heart attack (even though he has lost a lot of weight).

  10. #10 ?i?me bebek
    March 25, 2009

    thanks for you

  11. #11 yurek
    August 22, 2009

    very thanks for article

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