Hair Line Presidential Effects

*Post Updated 9/23/2022

Will the hairline of a candidate impact who will win the 2012 election in the United States of America?

It can be said that both President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have great heads of hair on their scalps. We are pointing this out because it is not true for all men in their relative age brackets. It also leads us to the question…Is their healthy hairlines the reason the polls are so close in this election cycle?

Back in 2008, we published an article on the psycho-social impact of hair loss and hair restoration on the lives of the public. When you take the time to observe the most recent leaders in the White House (such as Obama and Clinton) or candidates for the office (such as Gore and Kerry), an appearance of bushy, thick hair has seemed to be the order of the day. There is even true in the case of John McCain – a much older man who made sure to take the necessary steps to style his hair in order to reduce the appearance of thinning hair and even some areas of baldness.

It might be a series of superficial questions, but they do need to be asked:

  • Does the amount of hair on the head of a person really make a large impact on the social status and public approval of a politician?
  • When it comes to the presidential election, who is the person that gains a greater amount of trust with the public? A person with a full head of hair or a person with thinning hair and/or bald spots on the scalp?

One of the reasons we started thinking about this topic was the publication of a very interesting article in Time Magazine that explored the role of hair in presidential elections in the United States. It is important to note that no bald man has ever been voted into the White House in over twelve elections (Rushin, 2007). The last man to live in the White House that was bald was President Dwight D. Eisenhower (the 34th man to hold the office and he first took office in 1953).

It is interesting to realize how long it has been since a balding man won the honor of leading our nation despite the fact that over 60% of men experience some degree of male-patterned hair loss. One of the reasons given for this phenomenon is the advent of television and the first televised presidential debate between Kennedy and Nixon back in 1960. Many historians feel that John F. Kennedy got the edge over Richard Nixon, in part, because of his appearance on television. At the same time, visual media such as television ads, newspaper advertising, billboards, and Internet ads all play a major part in shaping the perception of political candidates in the eyes of the public.

There is even the example of Harold Stassen. For those who have never heard of him, Stassen is known for being the most failed presidential candidate in the history of the United States. Stassen ran for the top office in the country nine times, and he failed to be elected nine times. Stassen is also known for wearing a hairpiece in most of those elections. He made the choice to not let the public see him with a bald head in his presidential races. It seems that he was of the opinion that wearing a toupee, no matter how unnatural the appearance of the hairpiece on his head, was safer than presenting himself with a naked scalp to those choosing a presidential candidate.

It is sometimes hard to remember that America has had more than five bald Presidents in the past. However, these men held the office before TV and visual public media became widespread in this country. Think about it…Americans have not voted one bald president into office since the 1950s.

Steve Rushin, who is the author of the article from Time Magazine that we mentioned earlier, says: “As a realist, I know I can never be President, will never be part of the American HAIRISTOCRACY.

Rushin went on to add that the presidency is not a high-profile job in which a person can sneak by with a cool headpiece to cover their balding scalp. As an example, he told the public to think of an awesome paisley head scarf (such as Steven Van Zandt wears with the E Street Band) or a pompadour wig (which is what Steven Van Zandt wears on The Sopranos).

The age of visual stimulation does not appear to be ending in the near future which means that bald men might still be at a disadvantage when it comes to their political dreams. This does not mean that a bald person will not win the highest office in the land in the future but it likely will not happen with the next batch of presidential candidates.