Monday, May 16, 2011
What's the Best Job Experience for Running for President?
Of course, governors are not the only kind of candidates who win, and they are far from the only type of candidates who run. Nevertheless, primary voters do value electability, and the type of office held by a candidate does factor into electability. You may view the experience and perceived electability of all the Republican contenders on the Profiles page.
It's worth taking a look at the roster of Republican candidates in light of this factor. The following is a list of the candidates arranged by the type of offices they held. Afterward, we will compare it to the experience of the men who have been elected president.
Vice Presidents (0)
House Reps (2)
Christie should approve of such a governor-heavy field. But what about the men who have actually won the presidency? The following are the highest offices achieved by the men who were elected president during the 20th and 21st centuries. The list does not include those who did not win their first terms (i.e. they inherited the presidency due to death or resignation of the incumbent).
Vice Presidents (2)
House Reps (0)
There is a clear preference for governors, but a slight majority of the presidents held some other kind of office. What we do not see are House Representatives or men from a business (or unconventional) background. The challenges for House Reps is that they have not proven themselves capable of winning a state-wide election; they only need to win in their district. Senators, on the other hand, must win state-wide. Obviously winning the presidency requires the ability to win over a diverse coalition, and that may account for the difference.
For the current field of Republican candidates, precedent favors the governors. History is a hurdle for Cain, Gingrich, Paul, and Trump. Interestingly, according to Elephant Watcher's present calculation, the four most likely candidates to win the nomination are all governors.