Wednesday, July 8, 2020 8:57

Does Experience Really Matter

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Posted by admin on Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 12:36
This news item was posted in Politics category and has 66 Comments so far.

A lot has been made of the importance of experience this campaign and I was wondering how important a factor experience really is in the performance of Presidents. 

The challenge of course is finding rankings that can be agreed upon for the analysis.  I used rankings from a 2005 Wall Street Journal Poll that specifically tried to balance the participants between conservatives and liberals.  The survey ranked George W Bush four behind JFK and three ahead of Bill Clinton which I think is pretty generous but should remove any doubt about the rankings being liberal leaning.  You can find more information about the rankings here:

I have included the xls file below so you can change the rankings as you see fit and see how the results change.  (Note:  I have excluded the Presidents that were either killed or died in the first year of their Presidency)

Impact of experience on Presidential performance

Impact of experience on Presidential performance

Impact of Gubernatorial experience on Presidential performance

Impact of Gubernatorial experience on Presidential performance

Impact of military experience on Presidential performance

Impact of military experience on Presidential performance

Impact of legislative experience on Presidential performance

Impact of legislative experience on Presidential performance

The two conclusions that can be drawn from the above analysis is experience is inversely related to success as a President as is legislative experience.  Interestingly, when the first 14 Presidents are removed from the dataset the inverse relationship between Presidential performance and experience is even greater.

In my opinion the take away is the experience argument in general has been overplayed in this election. 
Please comment, I would love to know you thoughts.

Download the .xls here

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66 Responses to “Does Experience Really Matter”

  1. hyperboles
    9 September, 2008, 23:51

    This is interesting. I’m wondering though, if the relationship is causal, or if it just works out that way. Plus, public opinion is a tricky animal, and it’s really easy to rank presidents who were said and done before our time. Who knows what we all would have thought about Lincoln or Woodrow Wilson had we had the same media and technology covering them as we do our current presidents.

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