Sarah Palin, 14% chance of Presidency 2009-2013?

By Razib Khan | August 30, 2008 1:48 am

Seems like there’s a 14% chance that if the Republicans keep the White House this year that Sarah Palin will be President of the United States in the interval 2009-2013. Of course, you could modulate the probability up or down based on plugging in more priors into the model, but I think it gives a rough qualitative sense.

  • eddie

    Stop making eyes at her 6mth old.

  • Ross

    “you could modulate the probability up or down based on plugging in more priors”
    The risk of a president being murdered is so much higher than for a random member of the public that I think it would need to be included in any calculation. Around 7% or presidential terms feature an assasination.

  • Mike Keesey

    The risk of a president being murdered is so much higher than for a random member of the public

    Is that actually true? The rest of us don’t have the Secret Service. (And neither did Lincoln or McKinley.)
    Even if it is true, the risk of a president dying of malnutrition, exposure, treatable diseases, etc. is much, much lower than for the average member of the public.

  • gcochran

    Yes, Presidents routinely escape the recurrent famines sweeping over North America.

  • greg laden

    This is way wrong. Everyone knows that the presidency ages a person by 20 years. McCain would not be 80 at the end of an 8 year term. He’ll be 100 (in president years, like dog years).

  • razib

    good point. look at the life expectancies after the presidency of our recent ones; e.g., nixon, ford, carter, reagen and g hw bush. :-)

  • greg laden

    I was actually thinking about looking that up.

  • dev

    Re risk of presidential assassination: The US Secret Service assumed full-time responsibility for protecting the president in 1902 (after McKinley was assassinated). There have been 16 assassination attempts against the 18 presidents since then, of which one was successful (Kennedy), two others resulted in the president being wounded but surviving (Theodore Roosevelt and Reagan), and three others involved shots being fired in close proximity to the president (FDR, Truman, and Ford).
    So I think you could easily add a few per cent chance of a given president being killed or seriously incapacitated by an assassination attempt during his/her term in office. This is easily an order of magnitude or more than similar probabilities for the average US citizen (based on FBI statistics on murder, etc.).

  • dev

    Now that I think about it, if you add in the probability of McCain being assassinated or seriously incapacitated by an assassination attempt, the odds of Palin becoming president would probably be equal to or greater than the odds in Russian roulette — which I guess gives some idea as to McCain’s appetite for risk.

  • Phiz

    The most important prior of course is current health. Many of the people who are within 4 years of death have one foot in the grave already because of heart disease, etc. I would expect a better outlook for someone as robust and sprightly (relatively speaking) as McCain.

  • Jason Malloy

    you could modulate the probability up or down based on plugging in more priors
    Throw in the other John Sidneys and it might be a wash.
    JSM II: 70
    JSM I: 61


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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