Must-read DeLong, If You Said to Me, Name 25 Million People Who Would Maybe Be President… He Wouldn't Have Been in That Category (quoting an amazing interview with Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein). Brad then adds his comments:
Never yet has a grownup looked me in the eye and said, “George W. Bush is qualified to be President of the United States.” The most anyone has ever done is to say (around the time of the inauguration), “Look, Brad, he'll be Queen Elizabeth; Colin Powell will be Tony Blair and Paul O'Neill will be Gordon Brown. There are lots of Head-of-State things that George W. Bush will do really well, and the government will be in good hands.” But I don't think any grownup would say that or anything like that now.
Which just shows you that Berkeley is special. I suspect that many people in this community probably think Bush is just fine for the job. Some national religious leaders, after all, have said they think that his 5-4 election in the face of both contrary precedent and a contrary popular vote was a sign of divine providence. Others predict a divinely-ordained Bush victory in 2004. These views don't exist in a total vacuum.
I bet it's nice in Berkeley this time of year.
A note on calculation. There are at this writing about 293 million people in the US. So if you are the 25,000,001st most likely President, that still puts you in the 91st percentile. Top ten percent. Not so bad, surely?
But wait, I hear you say, we shouldn't count the children. Or maybe we shouldn't count anyone under 35 — the minimum age to be President. OK. Conveniently, in 2000 the median age in the US was 35.3, putting good ol' number 25,000,001 at the 82nd percentile or so. Top twenty percent. Not great, but still perhaps two standard deviations from the mean?
Myself, I'd estimate a much lower percentile.
UPDATE: Kevin Drum has a very very funny related screenshot of a headline in the UK's Daily Mirror.