The Washington Post

Would Americans prefer to sit next to Obama or Romney on a long flight?

This is a viral photo of a different airplane than the one you would be on, in all probability. (PHILLIP DUGAW)

The margin was fairly significant — 57 percent picked Obama, while a mere 31 went with the former Massachusetts governor. And that was a wider gap than separated those picking a candidate to watch on television for the next four years (34 percent for Romney, 54 percent for Obama).

What could possibly be behind this? The usual whom-would-you-rather-have-a-beer-with question is out, of course. Romney doesn’t drink. What makes him the worse catch on an airplane?

Here are some pros and cons on each seatmate.

Mitt Romney


●●Pretty sure the seat next to Romney would be in a nice, exclusive area of plane where they bring you hot towels.

●Won’t bore you with hours of reading you his tax returns the way his father might have.

●Definitely will not spend a long flight trying to tell you about his faith.

●Quietly reads The Economist for the bulk of the flight.


●More likely to tell you jokes about how “there’s no place like chrome for the hollandaise.”

●Constant running commentary about height of trees. (“Right,” while passing over Michigan. “Wrong,” everywhere else.)

●If you have to hear the strains of “She’ll Be Coming ’Round the Mountain,” “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ’Round the Old Oak Tree” and “Lida Rose” coming from his headphones one more time . . . .

●Scratching of dog strapped to top of plane distracting during takeoff.

Barack Obama


●You’re probably on Air Force One right now!

●Michelle may be somewhere nearby.

●Fun stories about those evenings with George Clooney.

●Won’t get all weird if you try to watch “Girls” on your iPad next to him.


●Insists on singing to you, forcing you to nod politely and insist that it’s really, really good when in fact it is fine, but not great.

●Keeps challenging you to games of pickup basketball and calling you “chicken” when you object that the plane is too small.

●Won’t let you go to sleep until he finishes telling you about that time he got Osama bin Laden.

●You get possibly six e-mails from him in the course of the flight asking you to donate and win the chance to have dinner with him.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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