Sunday, November 11, 2012

Was IQ a factor in the 2012 election?

I'm going to present the following with minimal comment, primarily because I don't think you can draw any conclusions from it.  But the issue came up, and I was curious about it, so I ran some numbers.

The graph below charts 2012 presidential election results into average IQ by county.

This chart uses data from the Associated Press, giving election results by county. I wanted to look at a finer resolution than just by state, since there are a lot of "red" counties in "blue" states and vice versa.  I had some difficulty locating IQ data at any resolution higher than a country level. I used data from the site giving me data for 900 cities which I then mapped into the corresponding counties to get an average IQ by county for about 500 counties. Then I dumped the votes for those counties into their appropriate IQ buckets. I'm not thrilled with this data source for IQ data so if you know of better source for IQ by geography, please let me know.

For reference, the average IQ of Americans is 98. The average IQ for Obama voters in this data is 99.8 and the average IQ for Romney voters is 98.8. The average IQ of the counties represented is 99.2.

Quite frankly, despite the fact that this data shows a slight preference among voters in lower IQ counties to prefer Mr. Romney, and voters in higher IQ counties to prefer Mr. Obama, my take-away is that IQ was not a significant factor in determining the outcome of the 2012 presidential election, or at least that this data doesn't show a significant correlation.