Why do lefties dominate Presidential politics?

Ford, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Gore, and now Obama and McCain are all left-handed.  Call it chance or availability bias, but I’m still wondering.  Read more here, and thanks to Martin Weil for the pointer.  Here’s one on-line discussion.  Here is a brief survey on Wikipedia.  It is my general view that left-handers have higher genetic variance in a number of dimensions, so they should be over-represented in many different kinds of extreme situations, including the Presidency. 

Comments

So Carter and Bush II are the only recent right-handed presidents? No wonder their incompetence is so blatant.

It is a good day to be a lefty.

This could be part of some sinister conspiracy....

1. One theory of why people are lefties is that they receive more testosterone in child birth.
2. You would expect the language side of the brain to be stronger. Wikipedia also says that left handers use more synthesis while right handers (on average) are more analytical. I don't know if that is true or not, but given that many politicians are lawyers, this seems like a plausible explanation. Another would be that people who tend to be successful in government aren't the ones with real analytical capability, but those who can explain things to others.

They note that a bunch of losing candidates have been as well. Robert Dole only sort of counts, though, because in his case it's due to war injury.

Simpler than genetics or hormones,

Part of the specification for a good President or Presidential candidate is that at some crucial moments he has to not let his left hand know what his right hand is doing. It is easier for the left hand to keep secrets from the right hand than vice-versa. Something to do with asymetry in the passing of messages betwen the two hemispheres of the brain, I guess.

"It is my general view that left-handers have higher genetic variance in a number of dimensions, so they should be over-represented in many different kinds of extreme situations, including the Presidency."

This made me laugh, then shake my head.

"I don't follow this logic. A greater variance can have the same mean."

Sort of. Imagine a bell curve of presidential competency. If left-handers have a greater genetic variance, then the farther from the center you get, whether more or less-presidential, the more left-handers there are.

People with high presidential cred will be more likely to be left-handed, even though people with low presidential cred will also be more likely to be left-handed.

I've always been left handed in everything I do (most left handers are ambidextrous in a number of activities such as kicking, cutting, eating, throwing, etc. I do nothing with my right hand).

I've always found the idea of "lefties struggling to adapt to the tools of a right-handed world" to be downright silly. It seems to be prevalent in academic psych literature though (and a few comments above, though I don't know if they're being ironic). I don't think I've ever noticed anything being more difficult except for can-openers and scissors. Of course, I don't remember the last time I used a buzz saw, but I think I managed ok. Try opening the fridge next time with your left hand; you'll need the right to wipe the sweat off your brow.

On another note, it's fascinating to see some of the studies they've done on it though, particularly in monkeys:
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/102/35/12634

"Chimpanzees that nut-crack are predominantly right-handed, whereas the chimpanzees that termite-fish are left-handed."

"These findings reinforce the view that the motor and cognitive demands of different tasks can have a significant influence on handedness in human and nonhuman primates. Last, hand preferences in wild chimpanzees are heritable."

CD came closest in my opinion. They have been taken over by aliens.

No? Ok, maybe not.

How about the possibility that lefties are more likely to vote for other lefties (perhaps without realizing it), while righties don't give a damn?

"Try opening the fridge next time with your left hand; you'll need the right to wipe the sweat off your brow."

As a righty, I don't really understand this. Why not use your right hand? I use my left hand to open the freezer or other cabinets that the left hand is more suited for. It's not a particularly hand-specific action.

Tools are rarely an issue for lefties. Aside from scissors (and these can be produced without handedness) most common tools are equally usable with the right or left hands: saw, hammer, screwdriver, wrench, drill, axes. Or on the distaff side, spatulas, spoons, knitting and sewing needles, etc. I'd bet the mean size difference between men and women has more impact on the ability to use certain tools than handedness does.

I have lived with refrigerators that opened from the right or left. Which one is supposed to be righty friendly? I prefer to pen the door with my left hand, and remove an item with my right, closing the door with my left hand again.

The supposedly free world is in fact ruled by a secret, shadowy cabal. Only those who rise to the top of the society and are chosen by the Highest may become their puppet leader in the US.

One of the arcane rituals by which a puppet is selected is a bare-knuckle boxing fight between the candidates, in which southpaws have a definite advantage.

Well, it makes as much sense as many of the alternate theories suggested here.

WRT < 1974 The old story is that Kennedy won the TV debate and Nixon won the radio debate, right? Lefties apparently dominate the new mass media campaign regime. Perhaps women, nowadays the likely marginal voting bloc, more often will vote for a leftie, all other things being equal, and pretty much all other things are equal between the Republican and Democrat candidate. Gore won the popular vote, btw, and GW's father is a lefty. So, yes, it seems significant that all the winners since Carter are lefties.

"It is my general view that left-handers have higher genetic variance in a number of dimensions, so they should be over-represented in many different kinds of extreme situations, including the Presidency."

Good thing Tyler's not the President of an Ivy League university, otherwise he'd likely be out of a job.

Here's a notion about presidents and daughters. From what I've heard, high status men are more likely to have sons. Maybe part of becoming president is feeling as though only the top is high enough status to feel good.

What student above said. This could just be one of those "the league that wins the superbowl predicts the stock market" things. It works until it doesn't.

Saying that as a lefty.

CD: "This could be part of some sinister conspiracy...."

Worth a mild chortle ...

http://www.8notes.com/glossary/Main_gauche,_mano_sinistra,_M.G._,_M.S..asp

Two points:

Reagan threw right-handed in opening day ceremonies at baseball games and in that great moment with the 1989 Super Bowl champ Redskins on the White House lawn. ("Where's Ricky Sanders?" he asked. Sanders broke in front of the podium, and Reagan hit him in stride with the football Joe Gibbs had just given him.)

The source article identified Bob Dole as left-handed. Ahem. When your right arm is ruined by a barrage of bullets in World War II, I suppose that makes you left-handed in a certain way, but not the way Tyler's talking about.

I believe that 55% of children of US presidents are male.

Of the last 8 presidents, LBJ, Nixon, Clinton, & W had only girls. But they are the four who had only 1 or 2 children. Ford, Carter, Reagan, & 41 each had more than 2 children and had boys.
Here's a
list

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