Friday, November 21, 2008

Politics and IQ; Conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans least intelligent

++Addition++Razib hypothetically describes why liberal Republicans are duller than their co-partisans:
Someone who was born into a "Republican family," and doesn't reflect much about ideology and so continues to vote Republican despite being liberal. I don't feel I need to explain conservative Democrats, as it seems to me that political exemplars of this class are generally duller than liberal or moderate Democrats.
Regarding the latter remark, I think he is essentially pointing to the South (the US' least intelligent region).


In considering a previous post, Razib points to a couple of historical instances of a prototypical whiterpeople/NAM coalition. He also references a previous post showing the average intelligence of white conservatives and white liberals to be similar. The latter (which might be a little dated) presents an opportunity to force whiterpeople on the left to acknowledge human biodiversity as a prerequisite to basking in their elevated sense of self-worth.

The estimated average IQ by political orientation*, based on Wordsum scores of GSS respondents between '04 and '06, for men and (women)**:

Party IDAverage IQ
Republican100.0 (99.1)
Democrat97.3 (98.1)
Independent94.4 (92.5)

Republicans are more intelligent. If only whites are considered, things look a little brighter for whiterpeople:

Party IDAverage IQ
Republican100.9 (100.0)
Democrat100.1 (102.3)
Independent96.3 (95.0)

In the aggregate, there is little apparent relationship between intelligence and party identification among whites, other than self-styled independents being less intelligent than either Democrats or Republicans, a pattern that is also apparent among moderates in comparison to liberals and conservatives.

It's not partisanship but political ideology that whiterpeople are more inclined to embrace as a symbol of greater enlightenment (or intelligence), however. Consequently, it is along the liberal-conservative spectrum where whiterpeople must dispense with blank slatism in order for their (slight) intellectual advantage over conservatives to become apparent.

Average IQ by political ideology for men and (women) of all races who were GSS respondents between '04 and '06:

IdeologyAverage IQ
Conservative99.4 (97.9)
Liberal99.2 (100.7)
Moderate95.2 (95.0)

And for whites only:

IdeologyAverage IQ
Conservative101.1 (100.6)
Liberal102.6 (104.6)
Moderate96.2 (97.1)

Self-identified white liberals are, on average, more intelligent than self-identified white conservatives are^, but without considering race, conservatives and liberals are basically at cognitive parity.

Summarizing from above, two things are seen: 1) Republicans have higher IQs than Democrats do, while white Republicans and white Democrats have similar IQs; and 2) Liberals and conservatives have similar IQs, while white liberals have higher IQs than white conservatives do. This results from the fact that although they proxy fairly well for one another, "conservative" does not equal "Republican", nor "liberal" equal "Democrat".

So are self-described liberals from both parties more intelligent than their conservative co-partisans? No. Inline with the trend of those in the squishy middle being less intelligent than those on either end of the spectrum are, conservative Democrats are less intelligent than liberal Democrats are, and liberal Republicans are less intelligent than conservative Republicans are.

Since this requires looking at 49 different categorical placements for a body of respondents from '04 to '06, to ensure samples of at least fifty, average IQ for men and women are not separated. Average IQ for all races by political orientation within each of the the two major parties:

DemocratsAverage IQ

RepublicansAverage IQ

Evincing the whiterpeople/NAM divide, the gap is especially wide among Democrats. This tentatively suggests moving either party towards the political center is going to see that party's voter base become less intelligent. This meshes with what appears to have happened to the GOP this election cycle with leftist John McCain as the party's Presidential nominee.

* The GSS lists three degrees for each side by political party orientation and also by political ideology (seven total categories for party and also for ideology). I've condensed them to three for ease of comparison in both sets of tables. The IQ conversion from Wordsum scores is based on the presumption that the white average is 100.

** Women have stronger verbal intelligence than men do. They are also more likely to be Democrats than men are. Consequently, not controlling for gender artificially inflates the apparent average intelligence of Democrats relative to Republicans when GSS data are being used.

^ At least the GSS suggests as much. However, the GSS' proxy for intelligence is a verbal measure. In academia, emphasis on verbal intelligence and leftism go together--disciplines where mathematical and visuo-spatial abilities are more heavily rewarded (engineering, computer science, business) are less leftist in orientation.


Stopped Clock said...

Conservative Democrats are probably largely blacks. There are some whites that are like that, such as a lot of poor rural Appalachain voters, but theyre increasingly becoming Republican.

John S. Bolton said...

You are on a roll, working these numbers and finding substantiated insights again and a again.

Joey said...

It's not that the hard sciences are more conservative, it's that they're less political and activist, compared to liberal arts/sociology types. Despite this, they still tend liberal (50% liberal to 19% conservative). Did you know that 90% of MIT's political contributions went to Democrats? This is, of course, the premier science and technology school in America. You've probably also read about how educated professionals have been moving in the Democratic direction since Bill Clinton.

Audacious Epigone said...


I was going to look at the same for whites only, but ran up against the clock. It's definitely worth seeing if the trend holds among whites alone, as I suspect it will.


Thanks. Your readership and commentary is always much appreciated.


Do you know how MIT's contributions compare to the Ivies?

Anonymous said...

I can't tell whether this is your own study; if it is, can you discuss margins of error, or any statistical analyses performed to test whether the difference was meaningful? 1 --5 points is usually thought to be an extremely small difference between groups when you're talking about IQs. How large were your samples? Incidentally, can you say why you used mean rather than median #'s?


Half Sigma said...

Smart people are better at understanding the ideologies of the two parties, and thus know which party to vote for based on their beliefs (or what to believe based on their party identification--it does work in both directions).

Dumb people will often just vote for whatever party their parents voted for, without really knowing why.

Audacious Epigone said...


900 for white males, 1100 for white females, by party. 450 w/m, 550 w/f for political ideology. All the other sample sizes were larger. I'm having trouble using GSS statistical functions for reasons I'm not sure of, which is why I'm sticking to averages instead of correlations for now. I use mean instead of median because the median Wordsum score is 6 for virtually everything (not just political comparisons, but most attributes across the board).

Audacious Epigone said...


I wondered if some respondents didn't simply get confused, realizing they were Republican or Democrat by family history or whatever, but being unsure of the differences insinuated between conservative and liberal, and so just guessed.

Audacious Epigone said...


The trend does hold. The sample sizes are pretty small (for self-identified white liberal republicans it's only 33 and for conservative democrats only 61), but here are the average IQ from Wordsum conversions for whites:

Lib Dems - 107.5
Con Dems - 94.9
Lib Reps - 96.0
Con Reps - 102.1

Fat Bastard said...

What about progressives?

Audacious Epigone said...

Fat Bastard,

The GSS doesn't explicitly gauge progressivism (whatever exactly that means in the contemporary socio-political context), but I suspect there is pretty substantial overlap in those who self-describe as "liberal" and "extremely liberal" also considering themselves to be progressive (maybe not so much for those who say they're independent but lean in the liberal direction, though).

Anonymous said...

Just sayin.

Fat Bastard said...

6% of scientists identify themselves as conservative.

Anonymous said...

Try incorporating some insights from this article which uses income as a variable as well:

matt75' said...

This is all a crock of horse shit. I esp love the blog that says GWB has a 92 and Clinton has a 185 lmao as if we can't tell the politics of who made this blog and that one. Pulling numbers out your ass. I have a 143 and am in mensa and while in a meeting found out obama only has a 121 I.Q. Also HALF SIGMA is dead on when he says many vote based on how their parents did. Most blacks are enslaven to vote democrat and are clueless as to why.

Anonymous said...

To me the Democratic party is the smarter of the two. I do not even consider any of the other parties because they just throw their vote away. I love the democrats because they pray upon the poor, but make them believe that they are helping them. Mostly the poor and the young vote democrate. Both of which are less educated and both are easily influenced. African Americans hat voted for Obama did it because he wa black. He is nothing more than an activist like Al Sharp and Jesse Jack. They actually believed that he could give them a "leg up" and he has done nothing for them. I do not consider myself Republican or Democrat, I do not have enough money. The way it looks now is that dems are socialists and republicans are too hardline. Obama ran on a platform of change and ending conflicts overseas, yet he is keeping the Afghan conflict going, drone strikes in god knows how many countries, and now they are talking about Syria. Come on people get educated this activist told you what you wanted to hear and came into office with a completely different agenda. People called GWB a war monger, well Obama has had this country in conflict for more years than GWB. I think that IQ tests are BS, why don't we give people a common sense test and see who comes out on top.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Fox News and GOP talking points with no real evidence to support what you stated. People like you are the problem with this country. I'm referring to the people that create these grandiose visions in their heads of what they think is really going on and proceed to believe it no matter what factual based evidence says otherwise.

matt pille said...

I've found that people who reveal their IQ are narcissistic and unintelligent

Unknown said...

Your party can't even beat the train wreck known as Donald Trump

Anonymous said...

Shortsighted answers make the majority of dumb people. You dont know anything about this person. Actually its quite narcistic to think you can tell about a person just because they tell you their iq. You are just a sad troll who wants ro say something too. Bitch owned