Four Out of Five Recent Presidents Are Southpaws

Being a southpaw can be a political strength, say scientists and historians.

ByABC News
February 21, 2008, 5:57 PM

Feb. 22, 2008 — -- Sinister. Gauche. Satanic. Throughout history the word "left" has been synonymous with awkwardness, even evil.

Writing with a left hand can be a curse, but it might just get you elected to the presidency. Four of the last five presidents were left-handed.

Commanders in chief Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were southpaws, a term derived from baseball. George W. Bush is not.

Given that overwhelming modern trend, campaign front-runners Barack Obama and John McCain might have the political upper hand.

Or not.

H. Ross Perot, the Frank Perdue look-alike who ran as an independent in 1972 and 1976, was also left-handed. And Michael Bloomberg, the erstwhile presidential candidate and current mayor of New York City, also pens with his left.

Other failed candidacies were those of New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, who ran in 2000, and magazine scion Steve Forbes in 1996 and 2000.

But scientists and historians agree that being left-handed, which is often associated with outside-the-box thinking, can be a political strength.

"They have a wider scope of thinking," said Amar Klar, a biologist who has done breaking research on handedness. "I know among scientists their numbers are really high. There are more Noble Prize winners, writers and painters. We need more people like that."