Salary Survey Extra: Gandalf and the Democratic presidential primary

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Gandalf? Not the wandering wizard! Not the ... U.S. Deomcratic presidential candidate?!With both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden vying for the Democratic nomination in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, there was always a high possibility that the eventual party standard-bearer would be an old white guy. The candidate who ultimately prevails, however, probably won’t be either as old or as milk-adjacent (pigmentationally speaking) as the top two contenders predicted by our most recent annual Salary Survey.

The actual candidate almost certainly also won’t have magical powers, which is true of both of the first two names to come out of our Salary Survey hat. Yes, for the record, this is one of those times when we report the results of a question from the Not So Serious part of the survey, the 10-query wind-down that we hope is a nice little chaser for anyone ready to blow off a bit of steam after filling in all of the rest of our blanks.

Given the size of the Democratic field when the survey launched last year, we weren’t entirely expecting that the whole shooting match would be all but over by the middle of March. Or, maybe if we’d thought hard about the fact that Joe Biden led every national poll for months before even becoming a candidate, well, perhaps the writing was on the wall all along.

The point is that we asked certified IT professionals to predict which of the many, many contenders for the nomination would ultimately emerge victorious. And we may have slipped in a couple of names of individuals not technically aligned with the Democratic Party, and perhaps not technically even capable of presiding over anything in the world as we know it.

It turns out, nevertheless, that sometimes a comforting fantasy (or a cynical dark fate) is what people really want (or expect) out of life. Here’s what we learned:

Q: The Democratic presidential candidate I’m betting on to emerge from the pack and challenge Donald Trump next year is:

Gandalf (Write-in) — 21.6 percent
Voldemort (After Russia rigs the primary) — 19.8 percent
Joe Biden — 16.9 percent
Elizabeth Warren — 15.2 percent
Bernie Sanders — 8.9 percent
Kamala Harris — 4.3 percent
Pete Buttigieg — 3.6
Amy Klobuchar — 1.3 percent
Cory Booker — 1.6 percent
Tulsi Gabbard — 4.4 percent
Beto O’Rourke — 1.1 percent
Julián Castro — 1.4 percent

Write-in candidates never amount to anything, of course, so even a wizard as wondrous as Gandalf probably wasn’t ever going to have a realistic shot. Which is to say nothing of the fact that the last time a confirmed bachelor got elected and made it through his entire term in office without ever marrying was … James K. Polk? Then again, it certainly feels like an incorruptible and virtuous warrior for the salvation of humankind is something we could really use right now.

Plenty of people believe the Mueller Report, of course, and if you believe the Mueller Report — or even just paid attention to the outcome of the Iowa Caucus — then it’s not all that hard to imagine the Russians successfully meddling in a U.S. election. Handing the victory to Voldemort would sort of be running up the score, but then again, Vladimir Putin and his cronies are nothing if not brazen.

Oh, hey look, there’s Joe Biden at the top of the list of People Who Are Actually Able to Be Voted For. Slow-Mo Joe has successfully outlasted everyone else on the list but Bernie Sanders, and it seems likely that Vermont’s most recognizable political figure (most recognizable public figure, really) won’t remain a contender for very much longer.

Survey respondents did prove more willing to buy into Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris as the nominee than most U.S. Democratic voters, but other than that our certified IT professionals called this thing pretty accurately. Gandalf and Voldemort proved that a fair number of people out there dig our sense of humor, but the pragmatists who took the survey appear to have sensed all along what the eventual outcome of the primary would be. (To say nothing of having a fairly good sense of which of the literal also-rans would last longest.)

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CertMag Staff

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Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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