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Candidate Names – 10 Quick Tidbits from A New Nation Votes
Posted on July 6, 2011 by Eric Beck

So far, the New Nation Votes project has added name_id’s to 23,869 candidates.  This is the tip of the iceberg, as we have 17,685 candidates who do not yet have id’s and some 20,000 pages of elections to enter yet.  But, we can find some interesting information from what we have.

  1. John is by far the most common name.  We have 3446 different candidates with the first name John.
  2. William is the second – also by a long way.  There are 2234 different candidates with the first name of William.  And if your first initial is W, odds are your first name is William – 88.90% of all the candidates with the first initial W are named William.
  3. Combined, nearly a quarter of all the candidates have the first name John or William.
  4. J is by far the most common first initial.  Aside from all the John’s, James comes in third place (1570), then we have Jacob (487), Jonathan (196), Joshua (135) and Jesse (105).  Nearly a third of all the candidates have a first name that begins with J – more than 3 times as many as any other letter.
  5. The most common last initials, in order, are S, B, M and H.  While no set of initials that doesn’t begin with J has more than 250 candidates, there are 654 JH’s, 728 JB’s, 758 JM’s (most notably, James Madison) and a whopping 817 different candidates with the initials JS.
  6. There no candidates with the initial of X, first or last, at least so far.
  7. As could be expected, the lowest totals of last initials are Q, U and Z.  With the first initials, it is Q, U, Y and, curiously, K.  There are only 25 candidates so far with the first initial of K and there isn’t a single Kevin.  It turns out Kevin, while a popular name now, didn’t really arrive in the States from Ireland until the early 20th Century.
  8. While only 45 candidates have a first name that starts with V (15 of them being Valentine), there are almost 300 candidates with last names that start with V.  And while New York only accounts for 6% of all the elections, it accounts for nearly 40% of the candidates with the last name of V.  This is because of the Dutch settlements in New York – most of the V names in New York begin with Van, including 9 different members of the Van Rensselaer family.
  9. The Top 10 first names of candidates so far:  John, William, James, Thomas (which accounts for 86% of all the names that begin with T), Robert, Henry, Jacob, David, Benjamin and Daniel.
  10. And lastly – what do the names Abraham, Francis and Elisha / Elijah all have in common?  Well, while none of them are particularly prevalent in the States today, there are more instances so far in our candidate database of each of those names than there are of the name Michael.  And Michael only beats Moses by one and Ebenezer by 3.  Names were different back in 1787-1825.

5 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Krista Ferrante

    1

    Are there still no surnames ending in X?

  2. Krista Ferrante

    2

    I meant starting with X.

  3. 3

    Not even in the candidates yet to be given id’s. A search of all the records only finds two candidates in Louisiana with the middle initial of X. No surnames or first names.

  4. Krista Ferrante

    4

    Louisiana makes sense because of the catholic immigrants. The only name I can think of with an X is Xavier. It’s a catholic name and it would seems that there were few catholic immigrants running for office in the mostly protestant republic. Anyway, I always found that interesting.

  5. Krista Ferrante

    5

    Have you found a better way of tagging the names so that the surnames are separate from the first name? It was extremely time consuming to distinguish names from other names and assign ids.