Campaign U.: Can IQ Predict How Well a President Will*Perform? - Chronicle.com
September 19, 2008
Can IQ Predict How Well a President Will Perform?
So how much does intelligence matter in determining the success of a presidency?
Ryan Enos, a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of California at Los Angeles, grapples with that question on a blog (dubbed The Sprint) that he and other UCLA graduate students and professors are writing about the final leg of the 2008 race for president.
Mr. Enos has posted a diagram one of his colleagues assembled that plots presidents’ IQ’s against a numerical measure of their success in office. He concedes that the relationship is far from perfect but concludes that, in general, as a president’s IQ increases so does his success in that job.
As for the natural next question of what this might tell us about John McCain and Barack Obama, Mr. Enos notes that only Senator McCain’s IQ has been publicly revealed. Time magazine, his blog post says, has said that Navy records show the Republican nominee’s IQ to be 133.
If Senator McCain’s potential success as a president were to be predicted only by IQ, he would fall “very much in the middle” of the diagram, Mr. Enos wrote. He added that he would be “near some rather undistinguished company, by presidential standards, like Chester A. Arthur, Rutherford B. Hayes, and George H.W. Bush.”