If height were the deciding factor, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney would defeat Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. Just how tall is Romney? The former Massachusetts governor is 6 feet, 2 inches tall—a full inch taller than Obama. Romney is the same height as recent presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush, as well as Franklin D. Roosevelt, so if nothing else, we know the doorframes in the White House are tall enough to accommodate the GOP hopeful.
While voters consider more than physical stature when they get to their polling stations—at least we hope they do—data suggests that height does play a factor. Since 1789, the taller candidates have triumphed in 58 percent of U.S. presidential elections, and what’s more, they’ve won the popular vote 67 percent of the time. There’s even a term for this phenomenon: “the Presidential height index.”
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Should he be elected, Romney would be a taller-than-average president. While Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon B. Johnson (both 6 feet, 4 inches) share the distinction of being America’s most vertically blessed leaders, and James Madison (5 feet, 4 inches) gets his name in the record books for being the shortest, the average over the years has been 70.8 inches—just shy of 5 feet, 11 inches. Romney is also tall compared to average Americans. According to 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, the average male in this country aged 20 and older stands about 5 feet, 9.5 inches. Maybe that info should inform his campaign slogan: “Mitt Romney, a man we can look up to.” Statistically speaking, it’s right on the money. Of course, the Democrats might counter with, “Romney: He only sees eye-to-eye with the top percentile.”