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Does IQ matter in politics?

Published May 20, 2004

"So Democrats really are smarter," teased the small headline in the latest issue of the Economist, a London-based news magazine that closely follows U.S. politics. That piqued our curiosity, so we read on.

The magazine, using as its source IQ and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, found that Al Gore carried nine of the 10 states with the highest average IQ in the 2000 presidential election, while George W. Bush swept the 10 states at the bottom of the list.

We're not sure what this means, if anything, but Democrats may find some consolation in the fact that Gore won not only more popular votes than Bush but also more smart votes.

Gore won Connecticut (113), Massachusetts (111), New Jersey (111), New York (109), Rhode Island (107), Hawaii (106), Maryland (105), Illinois (104) and Delaware (103).

Bush carried only one of the high-IQ states - New Hampshire (105).

However, he blew Gore away in the 10 states with the lowest average IQ - Alabama (90), Louisiana (90), Montana (90), Oklahoma (90), South Dakota (90), South Carolina (89), Wyoming (89), Idaho (87), Utah (87) and Mississippi (85).

We assume Florida was somewhere in the middle since it was not mentioned. However, we can't help but wonder why the average IQ of U.S. Supreme Court justices didn't make the list.

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