While we were watching the undercard debate on Wednesday, we noticed a pattern to what people wanted to know about the candidates on Google. "how tall is lindsey graham," people asked, and "how tall is bobby jindal," and "rick santorum height." Questions about the height of the candidates usually sneak onto the most-asked-questions lists, along with net worth and spousal status.
So, fine. Once and for all, here are the heights of all of the candidates -- and, for kicks, all of the presidents. But before we begin, all of the caveats.
Political candidates, like actors and Tinder users, like to exaggerate their heights. We're just smart monkeys, after all, and we correlate height to power, or we think we do, anyway. (The title of one study of how height and politics overlap: "Caveman Politics: Evolutionary Leadership Preferences and Physical Stature.") We're also going to be considering the heights of people who died before the invention of the steam engine, so it's worth assuming that there are some fluctuations in accuracy.
Using data from a variety of sources (listed below), we put together this graphic. It's hard to find accurate height information, so assume some margin of error. It's also very hard to find silhouettes of people that 1) are in Colonial garb and 2) don't go out of their way to exaggerate the sultriness of the women. So for the purposes of this graphic, assume that we teleported George Washington into the future solely to give him a haircut and a new suit. And forgive us for Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina's silhouettes, which could have been worse.
(How tall are you, John Kasich? We couldn't find it, so we estimated from the debate line-up photo. Happy to update with a correct figure.)
(Update: As we did with Ted Cruz, who had been pegged at 5'8" but various reports, including from Post reporters, put at closer to 5'10". The graphic has been updated.)
We usually assume that presidents now tend to be taller than they once were, what with television and all that. There certainly were more short presidents in the past, but the average height of presidents before and after FDR only differs by two inches.
It has been the case, though, that taller candidates are more likely to win presidential elections -- at least over the last century.
An exception? Barack Obama was shorter than his last opponent, Mitt Romney.
There you go, America. Your most pressing presidential campaign question, answered. Now can we get back to talking about Trump's hats?