A somewhat interesting, though morbid, story from the AP earlier this week by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar reviewed actuarial data to estimate the odds Barack Obama or John McCain would finish a term in office. Actuarial data has been a valid tool used in medical studies for decades and still provide the basis for many principles in medicine.
This Atlanta company that specializes in individual life insurance quotes estimates that John McCain would have a 24.44% chance of dieing in office compared to 5.76% for Obama. Ah, but what about disability? They crunched the numbers on this one too. Obama is expected to have another 21.9 healthy years compared to McCain’s 8.4. This report did not account for unforeseen reasons for finishing the first term such as accident/injury or resignation/impeachment.
Candidates’ ages has been a realtively ignored subject ever since Ronald Reagan’s famous 1984 debate line, ”I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” Given the vice-presidential choices in this election cycle, it certainly seems to be not only fair-game, but a critical piece of information. As George Will succinctly wrote, “the man who would be the oldest to embark on a first presidential term has chosen as his possible successor a person of negligible experience.”
Last week a Quinnipiac poll crunched another set of numbers in the four battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, and Minnesota. While Sarah Palin had slightly higher favoribility ratings in these four states (40-43% compared to 34-40% for Joe Biden), when people were asked, “If it became necessary, who would you rather see become president of the United States, Sarah Palin or Joe Biden?” the results flipped:
- Colorado: 42% (Palin) 49% (Biden)
- Michigan: 42% 47%
- Minnesota: 41% 50%
- Wisconsin: 42% 46%
Based on this data it looks like voters will need to decide whether or not they are willing to “roll the dice” with McCain’s health and whether or not they are willing to risk a President Palin.
The Country Doc