Is Hillary too old to be president?
Nate Cohn relies on actuarial tables to ARGUE that Hillary Clinton is not really all that old:
Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers are unprecedented. She holds more than 60 percent of the Democratic primary vote, a figure usually reserved for popular sitting vice presidents—even though these polls pit her against a sitting vice president. It’s tempting to wonder whether it’s even possible for her to lose the Democratic nomination. I asserted in a meeting two weeks ago that she has a 99 percent of locking up the nomination, although who knows the actual odds. But if her chances are close to that, her biggest challenge might just be surviving to November 2016.
According to actuarial data from the Center for Disease Control, four percent of 65-year-old white women will die before November 2016. Now, Hillary Clinton isn’t the average 65-year-old white woman: She’s probably healthier than most, she’s rich, and she will have access to the best medical care. Her mother lived to age 92 (a 65-year-old white woman lives to a median age of 85 or 86). All of those factorsimprove her odds. Indeed, the University of Pennsylvania’s life expectancy calculator suggests Clinton’s life expectancy is more than 94 years, with a median of 96. According to my back of the envelope calculation, a 65-year-old white woman expected to live to 96 has a 99.2 percent chance of surviving the Iowa caucuses and a 98.9 percent chance of surviving the 2016 presidential election.
A 65-year-old white woman has the same odds of dying the following year as a 60-year-old white male. That puts her in roughly the same place as George H.W. Bush when he sought the presidency. She probably has a better chance than Ronald Reagan did. It would seem to give her much better odds than vice president Joe Biden, who’s a male and already older: eight percent of 69-year-old white males will die before the 2016 presidential election.