Three Top Presidential Candidates Don’t Actually Live in the United States (Source:

Interesting that after my last post on how names affect your ability to standout online, I noticed a post by Phil Windley, the man who inspired me to blog, about, a web site that uses census data to estimate the number of people living in the United States that have the same name as you.

For Phil Windley, the answer is 3.
For me, Paul Allen, the answer is 2,838.
For my hypothetical John Smith, the answer is 49,535.

Interesting stuff. But when I plugged in the names of the Presidential Candidates for 2008, I discovered some disturbing news and I’m breaking it right here and now. (Quick, somebody call Matt Drudge!)

There are 443 people named John McCain, 6,746 named John Edwards, 1 person named Hillary Clinton (but 12 named Bill), and shockingly, the algorithm reveals that there are 0 people in the U.S. named “Mitt Romney” or “Barack Obama” or “Rudy or Rudolph Giuliani.” There isn’t even a Willard Romney, I guess because both names are rather unusual.

So three of the top candidates don’t actually live in the United States according to the Census Bureau data (I think we’ll need a Congressional Investigation of this–doesn’t the Constitution require our presidents to live here?), and the political Hillary Clinton is the only Hillary Clinton that lives in these United States.

So I suppose she’ll have a slight edge over other candidates who don’t actually live in the U.S. or who may have to compete with other non-candidates who share their name, and might therefore cause a bunch of confusion in this upcoming election.

Some of those other 6,745 John Edwards might own web sites and blogs and really cause a lot of confusion for the actual candidate. (But the confusion might actually be to his advantage. Suppose that everyone who knows those other John Edwards — and the average person probably knows 300 other people — votes for him, thinking it is their friend who is running for President. Then 2,023,500 people might accidentally vote for John Edwards because of incidental name recognition. So this could give him a big advantage.)

Like I said, this is going to be a really interesting election.

4 thoughts on “Three Top Presidential Candidates Don’t Actually Live in the United States (Source:

  1. Great post Paul. I checked it out and I am the ONLY Lorri Randle in the United States, I felt pretty important.
    Problem is that Cammon Randle, my husband, isn’t found…I should have asked more questions before we were married!

  2. According to, I’m one of 27 Timothy Tottens in the USA. Maybe that’s why I can’t get my own Gmail account.
    I guess I could use my name and my year of birth, but I’ve always been afraid someone might think it was my weight.

  3. Did you read the accuracy page? First, the data for this program comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 1990 census (a 17 year old sampling file anyone can download). Second, the program makes the assumption that a person’s first and last names are independent of one another. It told me that “There are 0 people in the U.S. named Illya D’addezio”. Bummer!

  4. The voting for a name just because you recognize it slant is interesting. I am not sure it will give any candidate a 2m vote advantage though.

    I am also concerned that digital voting could impact the election as well. I say it;s time to do away with the secret ballot and make it easy to count everyones vote by making them available onlne to that person and other responsible parties. I mean if you are not willing to acknowledge who you voted for then do not complain when they do not get elected.

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