Search the Site

Is Eye Color the Key to the White House?

Despite Fred Thompson‘s so-so performance in his first presidential debate, and despite his serious lag on InTrade (Giuliani, 39; Romney, 24; Thompson, 19.5), the blogger Noele Kensut is calling for Thompson to win the White House.

Why? Because he has blue eyes.

Eye color is one trait, Kensut writes at Mijka Samora‘s Reality Journal, that every president since Richard Nixon has had in common. Their opponents, meanwhile, usually have had dark eyes. I trust Kensut on this fact — though I must say, I almost never notice the color of a person’s eyes, at least not men.

But maybe that’s the point: maybe it’s women voters who do notice, and care, and put the blue-eyed candidate over the top. And maybe it’s not a coincidence that a female blogger noticed this pattern.

Could it be that blue eyes provide a similar advantage for men that blonde hair does for women? As we wrote in Freakonomics, blonde women (whether natural or not) do far better on online dating sites than non-blondes. And the experimental economist John List has shown that blonde women outperform all other candidates when it comes to soliciting charitable donations.

Here is the key to Kensut’s argument:

Today only 1 in every 6 Americans, or 16.7% of the population, has blue eyes. This percentage has been dropping in part due to immigration from non-European countries. A 2002 Loyola University study found that as many as 50% of Americans born in 1900 had blue eyes. The choice of an American with blue eyes for President may signal a voter preference for someone with deeper roots in America, vs. a relative newcomer.

Kensut predicts that Thompson will eventually beat out John Edwards, who also has blue eyes, because Thompson is “taller and more rugged.”

FWIW, if I were a betting man and had to place a bet today, even money, on who will win next November, I’d go with the candidate I’ve been picking for the past six months: Mitt Romney, LDS membership and all.

And you?