STUMP » Articles » Presidential Mortality: Evaluating a Biden-Sanders Ticket » 1 March 2020, 07:18

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Presidential Mortality: Evaluating a Biden-Sanders Ticket  


1 March 2020, 07:18

Given Biden scored quite a decisive victory in South Carolina, I will evaluate the situation of a Biden-Sanders ticket in terms of mortality.

Using the handy-dandy Longevity Illustrator, I am putting in the info for both Joe & Bernie.


For my base case, I will assume they have average health (yes, yes, I know. I will look at a more pessimistic projection in a moment.)

In my last post on Presidential candidate mortality, I looked at survival probabilities for each man separately, and that doesn’t change.

What I want to know is the probability of both of them lasting 4 years… and the probability that at least one of them survives.

Number of Years Either Both
5 95% 61%
10 76% 26%
15 44% 6%

So, if there’s a Biden-Sanders ticket, chances are pretty good that, if they win, at least one of those two would be President in 2024.

But chances are also pretty good that at least one of them would die by the end of the one term. About 40%, which is pretty high, though not over 50%.

That’s with average health, though.


First off, there is no way I’m projecting either man for excellent health. There’s no way.

That said, there are 4 combos of poor/average health… and I’m not doing that one, either.

To be sure, they’re still up and walking around. Many men their age are already physically disabled with many other problems. However, Bernie had a heart attack relatively recently, and Biden has his own history with health problems.

So let’s see the results with poor health.

Number of Years Either Both
5 90% 48%
10 62% 14%
15 27% 2%

Obviously, survival probability drops with poor health. That one reaches 2025, there’s a 90% chance, which is fairly high, but not a sure thing. That at least one will die… now we’re in the 50% range.


I’m not expecting a Sanders-Biden ticket, either way, lasting two terms.

As I noted in the last post, I think if either Sanders or Biden is involved, the man will not go on for a second term.

If it’s both of them… I’m still not expecting them to go onto a second term. Chances are pretty high that at least one of them won’t make it to a second term to begin with, even with average health.

I can imagine many Democrats would be fine with this set of probabilities, because if only Biden and/or Sanders can possibly make it over the finish line against Trump, it would be worth it to them. If only to allow Ruth Bader Ginsburg to finally retire.

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