Congressional experience is considered much less important for presidential candidates than it used to be. Until recently far more Americans thought serving in Congress was better preparation for being president than being a governor but that has changed dramatically. From Pew Research:

trend line graph showing preparation for presidency congress governor

I wonder if this is more of an indictment against President Obama, the current members of Congress, or both.

While Americans thought Congress was better preparation for the White House over the past fifty years, that didn’t stop them from mainly electing governors: Carter, Reagan, Clinton, G.W. Bush.

Barack Obama was actually the first president to move directly from Congress to the White House since Kennedy. Now that people have actually experienced what happens when someone goes from the Senate to 1600 Pennsylvania the idea seems at lot less appealing.

Of course, this shift could be entirely due to the fact that people hate Congress now. In recent years Congress’ job approval rating has hit a record low. If I had to bet I would say both factors are playing some role.

Either way, this is not great news for the current crop of Senators who are thinking about running in 2016 such as Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio.

Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at