Insofar Obama has steered clear of explicitly endorsing anyone in particular, although his most recent comments have been interpreted as a rebuke of Sanders and Warren.

I wonder: are the any statistics compiled on how (un)common is for former US president to endorse or not somebody (else) in a subsequent presidential race? And maybe these stats are split by support during primaries or just thereafter. Or even by explicit or more veiled support...

  • it's actually pretty funny that the same Obama did see fit to endorse Trudeau, which caused a bit of a stir up here in Canada ;-) and not necessarily a positive one, even among folk who liked Trudeau though it probably did help his campaign overall. Nov 16, 2019 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


Just spitballing, but I'd gather it's rare that they do -- at least for a term or more.

In the US and elsewhere it's common for the heads of state or government to keep a low profile for a while after leaving office. There are exceptions. See for instance Grover Cleveland, who not only didn't keep a low profile but went on to be the only US president to server two non-consecutive terms.

Insofar as I've seen throughout my adulthood, or read in history books during the same period, there aren't many exceptions in democracies in recent history. (But I don't have statistics handy, so take this with a grain of salt.)

(In monarchies, by contrast, it's commonplace. You basically want to endorse your designated heir in such a context. And this likely explains, if only in part, why democratically elected heads of states or governments avoid endorsing anyone for a while.)

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