In honor of today's Super Tuesday elections (and a Happy 8th Birthday to my daughter Ellie), I thought I'd throw in my analysis of who is the most likely person to get elected this year. I received an e-mail recently from a friend detailing how, in recent history, US senators have fared very poorly against those who held other offices, particularly Governors. For instance, in the last 50 years, presidential losers include Senators John Kerry, Al Gore, Bob Dole, Walter Mondale, George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey, and Barry Goldwater. Winners include Governors Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush (W). This year, it looks as though the Senator shut-out will be broken, as Senators Clinton, Obama, or McCain will likely be our next president, baffling Governors Huckabee and Romney.
You could read a lot into this, as some have, specifically that governors are better suited to be presidents because they're the top of the food chain, while senators are merely one of many leaders. There could be something to that. But what I offer to you is this: the person most likely to get elected is the one who comes across as generally competent and then is the most likable. Likability, at the end of the day, is what got Clinton elected twice, and then got Bush elected twice. We all thought Clinton could "feel our pain" so he coupled likability with empathy. And as nice a guy as Bob Dole was, nobody could stand how strange a guy he was. Ditto for Al Gore and John Kerry. Who would you rather go have a burger with: W, Gore, or Kerry? Politics aside, most people would have said W.
So on the likability scale, I think Hillary is doomed, and it will be a fight to the finish between McCain and Obama. Obama is one of the most charismatic figures in the history of American politics, but McCain is the self-proclaimed Straight Talker who was a Vietnam POW. If I had to guess, his views on abortion and the war will keep him out of the White House.
Of course, it's also all about the swing states. I'll blog about that another time.