So I was thinking this morning about McCain and the chances of him dying while in office if he were to get elected. The reason I was thinking about this is that he is 72yrs old.

So I decided to look up a few facts and play with the numbers.

According to the WHO the probability of a male dying in a given year who is between the ages of 70 - 74 is 0.14766 or 14.766%. And the probability of dying for a male between ages of 75 - 79 is 0.22188 or 22.188%.

Now if McCain were elect he would serve two years in the first age range and the second two in the second age range. This yields an 85.234% chance McCain will survive his 1st year in office, an 72.648% chance of surviving his 2nd yr, an 56.529% chance of surviving his 3rd yr and 43.986% of surviving his 4th yr.

So there is less than a 50% chance of McCain surviving his entire term. That means that Palin becoming president isn't a possibility but a likelihood if McCain is elected.

And now for Obama, he is 47yrs old. According to the WHO the probability of a male dying in a given year who is between the ages of 45 - 49 is 0.02120 or 2.12%. And the probability of dying for a male between ages of 50-54 is 0.03174 or 3.174%.

If Obama were elect he would serve two years in the first age range and the second two in the second age range. This yields an 97.88% chance Obama will survive his 1st year in office, an 95.805% chance of surviving his 2nd yr, an 92.764% chance of surviving his 3rd yr and 89.82% of surviving his 4th yr.

That means it is more than likely that Obama would survive his entire term if elected.


Citation: I pulled ages from wiki and the survival data I pulled from the WHO at this link.

http://www.who.int/whosis/database/life_tables/life_tables_process....

A note on methodology for those that are interested. The WHO probability of dying is created by taking the proportion of people of a specific age that died in that year divided by the total people that are that age. That means that it does take into account anything that can kill people but it does not weight those factors according to personal history. So the probabilities presented would apply to any male of the same age surviving over the same period of time. Also I calculated this by converting the probability of dying to a probability of surviving which is 1 - probability of dying. Then I multiplied the survival probabilities together for each consecutive year which yields the final probability of survival.

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Now when I have told or shown people this the first thing that is asked is "What about assassinations?"

Well I calculated an estimated assassination factor by taking the 4 successful assassinations of sitting presidents and dividing that by the total number of years there has been a president (219) which is 0.01826 or 1.826% chance per year.

Now I applied this factor in the same way as the original methodology. That is I converted it to a survival probability then multiplied that probability by survival probability each year. That produces the following survival probabilities for McCain and Obama.

McCain chance of survival
1st yr 0.836772146 or 83.6772146%
2nd yr 0.700187625 or 70.0187625%
3rd yr 0.534878762 or 53.4878762%
4th yr 0.408598038 or 40.8598038%


Obama chance of survival
1st yr 0.960922374 or 96.0922374%
2nd yr 0.92337181 or 92.337181%
3rd yr 0.877734053 or 87.7734053%
4th yr 0.834351947 or 83.4351947%
Ok in that case I will simplify my probabilities.

McCain has less than a coin flip chance of surviving a presidential term.

And Obama has a 8 out of 10 chance of surviving.

Or you could say that it is twice as likely that Obama will survive than McCain.

Or in even more simplistic terms. The odds are the old guy will kill over soon but the young guy will probably live.

Any of those would be accurate statements according the probabilities I calculated.
Are you assuming the chances of a republican getting assassinated are the same as for a democrat?

My American history is way too poor for me to know.
The same factor was applied to both candidates equally and it was nothing more than the probability of a president being assassinated regardless of any attributes of that president. All I did is take the 4 successful assassinations of sitting presidents and divide that by the total number of years we have had a president which yields a probability of a president being assassinated in a years time. That factor was 1.8% chance of being assassinated in a given year.

So to answer your question that factor was not weighed in any manner for republican vs democrat or any other feature. In fact it is assumed to be equal chance in each year of presidency which may or may not be true.

But the assassination factor is nothing more than a quick and dirty estimate created because the first people I mentioned this to asked about assassinations.
And then there's relative pretzel consumption and segway ownership to consider.
LMAO! I knew he was incompetent but he can't even eat a pretzel successfully. And yet we as a country somehow selected him to lead us not once but twice!
Of the four assassinated presidents, 3 were Republicans. However, race is a factor as well. Medgar Evers, MLK Jr, Malcolm X, and Fred Thompson were all assassinated, though all occurred in a 6 year period. Hopefully things have changed.
Ok first off I decided on a single factor for both as opposed to dividing it between parties. The reason is that I consider 4 occurrences to be such a small sample that it would be very prone to sampling error.

Second if you were to split the assassination factor by party then you would be assuming that the association with the party was a primary factor in the assassination. I am not sure if that assumption would hold up.

As for race, I considered that race could have an effect on the probability of being assassinated but I don't really have any method to calculate how much an effect it would be considering we have never had a black president so I don't have any data to base it on.

In fact the primary reason that I presented the numbers separately is because the assassination factor could be challenged on several grounds such as you have shown. That way if you don't like how I calculated the assassination factor then you could just look at the numbers without it.
I think you did a great job. I was just "typing out loud".

As far as I know party wasn't a factor in any of the 4 assassinations. And honestly, with the amount of SS they provide these days, I don't think it would be as easy to pull off as it was in the past. I think age is MUCH more of a reliable factor.

Lately though, I've been thinking this: Palin as president would be a nightmare, but McCain's short fuse actually frightens me more.
The WHO data represents age ranges. So, the risk of death in the WHO data is estimated to be the same for a 70 - 74 year old.

If you look at the social security administration actuary tables, they are broken down by year.

http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/STATS/table4c6.html#fn1
Obama: 47 Years Old

Age Probability of Death Life Expectancy

47: 0.004424 31.03 years
48: 0.004805 30.17 years
49: 0.005208 29.31 years
50: 0.005657 28.46 years
51: 0.006134 27.62 years

McCain: 72 Years Old

Age Probability of Death Life Expectancy

72: 0.032978 12.01 years
73: 0.036086 11.41 years
74: 0.039506 10.81 years
75: 0.043415 10.24 years
76: 0.047789 9.68 years

Probability of Death is calculated within 1 year
Life Expectancy is the number of expected years left in the individuals life.

Obama of course is much younger, so he has a much longer life expectancy.
Great find! Thank you

Though the numbers look a lot different so now I will have to go back and research this a bit more to determine why they are different and which would be more applicable.
uumm, not to mention McSame's 4 bouts with cancer.

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