Do American Presidents Lean Left?

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If you thought the world was stacked against lefties — from scissors that pinch to stick shifts on the right-hand side — think again. In January, five of the last seven presidents will have been left-handed. (Both John McCain and Barack Obama are southpaws.)

Melissa Roth, author of The Left Stuff: How the Left-Handed Have Survived and Thrived in a Right-Handed World, says it could just be a coincidence, but that statistically, we should have a left-handed president only once every eight or nine administrations.

"One explanations is that in the past century, the percentage of lefties in the U.S. has increased from 2 to 5 percent of the population in the early 1900s to somewhere between 11 and 15 percent today," she says.

Roth says left-handed people share traits that are commonly found in leaders.

"They realize from an early age that they're different in a fundamental way. They might be told that they're more creative because of it or they might be told it's a sign of the devil — either way, it's a difference that makes them stand apart," she says. "But their brains do look and act somewhat differently, and that's been linked to different kinds of creativity."

In terms of political speeches, she says, lefties are more likely to integrate the literal elements of speech with the more figurative elements.

"The symbolism, visual imagery," she says, "and these are all very important when it comes to inspiring your electorate."



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