08 October 2012

Why Are So Many Top Politicians Left Handed?

Top politicians are much more likely to be left handed than the general population.
In the general population about 10% of us are left handed. So what causes left handers to rise to the top in politics?

Here are some suggestions, for which there is little or no evidence:
  • Lefthanders are just smarter, more ambitious, better networkers, harder working, more popular, or something
  • Lefthanders have experience overcoming adversity, dealing with a difficult and sometimes hostile world
  • Or maybe this is just a random happenstance, and over the long term only an average number of top politicians will be left handed.
The success of left-handed politicians may be a new phenomenon, reflecting the greater acceptance of lefthandedness in recent generations. In earlier times many people who might have been naturally left handed were forced to use their right hands due to prejudice. Ronald Reagan may be an example. This is reflected in the record of British Prime Ministers: of the 52 who have held that office there are only two left-handed Prime Ministers on record: Churchill and Callaghan (source: BBC story).

Is this true in other fields? Are there a disproportionate fraction of left handers among business CEOs, flag and general officers, Nobel prize winners or other highly successful groups, where lefthanders might rise to the top? If you have information or opinions, add your comment below.


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