Who is the coolest potential presidential candidate?

WASHINGTON — The next presidential election is several years away, but it’s never too early to start weighing potential candidates.

The Wire took a look at some likely contenders and ranked them according to an unorthodox factor: Coolness.

“The cooler candidate wins the presidency. We pretend this isn’t true, couching public preferences in colloquialisms about getting beers and sharing music playlists, but deep inside we understand the difference,” Philip Bump writes.

“Barack Obama is president, in some very real ways, because he is way cooler than John McCain and Mitt Romney.”

Bump says the cool factor has been present in every presidential election dating back to President Dwight Eiesenhower. The only exception was President Richard Nixon, he says.

Using six characteristics of coolness — love life, looks, fashion and hair, booze and drugs, musical taste and sports and activities — The Wire surveyed 11 candidates, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Researchers also brought in outside sources, like high school senior and homecoming queen Bridget Jones, to help determine where these politicians fall on the cool scale.

The results might surprise you.

Click through the gallery to see how the candidates rank, and read about the determining factors at The Wire.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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