10 June 2009

Presidential heights

If you’ve been following the debate about how important body language and non-verbal communication really are, you shouldn't conclude from one of my recent posts that I don’t think such things matter at all. 

During the Obama-McCain campaigns, I even suggested that there might be a connection between political success and a good head of hair (‘Hair today, win tomorrow: baldness and charisma?’), in which I also mentioned a study of US politicians  ‘from presidents down to the lowest levels of local government, that identified the two most powerful predictors of electoral success in American politics as being the candidate’s height (the taller the better) and record of athletic achievement (the sportier the better).’ 

On the question of height, it's worth looking at a  piece in today’s Times Online entitled ‘How Sarkozy stood up to Obama’

As can be seen from the picture, Sarkozy is clearly sensitive enough about being vertically challenged to stand on a step at the same podium as other speakers at the D-Day commemorations last weekend.

And, if height really is as important in American politics as suggested in the study mentioned above, Mr Sarkozy might have found it more difficult to get elected as president had he been campaigning in the USA rather than France.

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