Undecided Americans watched Sarah Palin's speech last night in part to figure out whether they are comfortable with her being "a heartbeat away" from the presidency. For some, this question takes on extra urgency because John McCain is 72-years-old.
Politico consulted life-insurance experts to assess the likelihood that a Vice President Palin or a Vice President Biden would become President. According to the Social Security Administration’s tables, a man aged 72 years and 67 days (McCain's age on election day 2008) is almost ten times more likely to die before January 20, 2013, than a man aged 47 years and 92 days (Obama’s age on election day). Obama's cigarette use doesn't increase his likelihood too much, either.
Of course, statistics derived from the entire population cannot predict the fate of McCain or Obama. Even so, do you consider whether or not a candidate will live through the term when you're making up your mind?