Fact Check

State I.Q. Voting Patterns

Chart shows relationship between 2004 electoral vote and voter IQ?

Published Sept. 11, 2004

 (andrea crisante / Shutterstock.com)
Image Via andrea crisante / Shutterstock.com
A chart shows the relationship of voting patterns and intelligence quotients by state.

Some pranks are so good they keep working over and over again.

Back in November 2002, someone (using the name Robert Calvert) created and posted to a USENET newsgroup a phony chart which purportedly showed the average IQ per state in the U.S., along with the average income and a column indicating how that state voted in the 2000 presidential election:

State Avg. IQ 2004
1 Connecticut 113 Kerry
2 Massachusetts 111 Kerry
3 New Jersey 111 Kerry
4 New York 109 Kerry
5 Rhode Island 107 Kerry
6 Hawaii 106 Kerry
7 Maryland 105 Kerry
8 New Hampshire 105 Kerry
9 Illinois 104 Kerry
10 Delaware 103 Kerry
11 Minnesota 102 Kerry
12 Vermont 102 Kerry
13 Washington 102 Kerry
14 California 101 Kerry
15 Pennsylvania 101 Kerry
16 Maine 100 Kerry
17 Virginia 100 Bush
18 Wisconsin 100 Kerry
19 Colorado 99 Bush
20 Iowa 99 Bush
21 Michigan 99 Kerry
22 Nevada 99 Bush
23 Ohio 99 Bush
24 Oregon 99 Kerry
25 Alaska 98 Bush
26 Florida 98 Bush
27 Missouri 98 Bush
28 Kansas 96 Bush
29 Nebraska 95 Bush
30 Arizona 94 Bush
31 Indiana 94 Bush
32 Tennessee 94 Bush
33 North Carolina 93 Bush
34 West Virginia 93 Bush
35 Arkansas 92 Bush
36 Georgia 92 Bush
37 Kentucky 92 Bush
38 New Mexico 92 Bush
39 North Dakota 92 Bush
40 Texas 92 Bush
41 Alabama 90 Bush
42 Louisiana 90 Bush
43 Montana 90 Bush
44 Oklahoma 90 Bush
45 South Dakota 90 Bush
46 South Carolina 89 Bush
47 Wyoming 89 Bush
48 Idaho 87 Bush
49 Utah 87 Bush
50 Mississippi 85 Bush

The IQ numbers were originally attributed to the book 'IQ and the Wealth of Nations,' though they do not appear in the current edition. The tests and data were administered via the Raven's APT, and The Test Agency, one of the UK's leading publishers and distributors of psychometric tests. This data has been published in the Economist and the St. Petersburg Times, though this does not mean it should be taken as fact.

The gag was that all the states that voted for Vice-President Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election were clustered at the top of the IQ scale, while all the states that voted for then-Texas Governor George W. Bush were clustered at the bottom.

The chart's creator claimed to have been inspired by the book IQ and the Wealth of Nations and to have drawn his IQ data from the Ravens APM, but — save for the average income per state numbers, which were valid but outdated figures taken from the 1994 World Almanac — the chart was completely bogus. (The Ravens Advanced Progressive Matrices is not really a general intelligence test, nor do its publishers offer state-by-state test results data.) Nonetheless, a number of news publications (including the staid Economist) were taken in by the hoax — some mistakenly citing the information as having come from the book IQ and the Wealth of Nations, or even IQ and the Wealth of States — and published portions of the chart, and discussed it as if it were valid. (A similar hoax about presidential IQs produced similar media-fooling results back in 2001.)

Now, someone has dusted off the same chart and (omitting the economic data) applied it to the 2004 presidential election, keeping the primary gag intact: the "blue" (i.e., Democratic states) are all clustered at the top of the IQ scale, while the "red" (i.e., Republican) states are clustered at the bottom. Same hoax, different year. If presidential elections continue to produce the close results, expect to see this same joke again every four years.


Till, Francis.   "Internet Hoax Tricks Mainstream Major: Not So Smart After All."     The National Business Review.   23 May 2004.

St. Petersburg Times.   "Does IQ Matter in Politics?"    20 May 2004.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.