Bush Smarter than Kerry?
To Bush-bashers, it may be the most infuriating revelation yet from the military records of the two presidential candidates: the young George W. Bush probably had a higher I.Q. than did the young John Kerry. That, at least, is the conclusion of Steve Sailer, a conservative columnist at the Web magazine Vdare.com and a veteran student of presidential I.Q.’s. During the last presidential campaign Mr. Sailer estimated from Mr. Bush’s SAT score (1206) that his I.Q. was in the mid-120’s, about 10 points lower than Al Gore’s. Mr. Kerry’s SAT score is not known, but now Mr. Sailer has done a comparison of the intelligence tests in the candidates’ military records. They are not formal I.Q. tests, but Mr. Sailer says they are similar enough to make reasonable extrapolations. Mr. Bush’s score on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test at age 22 again suggests that his I.Q was the mid-120’s, putting Mr. Bush in about the 95th percentile of the population, according to Mr. Sailer. Mr. Kerry’s I.Q. was about 120, in the 91st percentile, according to Mr. Sailer’s extrapolation of his score at age 22 on the Navy Officer Qualification Test.
Linda Gottfredson, an I.Q. expert at the University of Delaware, called it a creditable analysis said she was not surprised at the results or that so many people had assumed that Mr. Kerry was smarter. “People will often be misled into thinking someone is brighter if he says something complicated they can’t understand,” Professor Gottfredson said.
Many Americans still believe a report that began circulating on the Internet three years ago, and was quoted in “Doonesbury,” that Mr. Bush’s I.Q. was 91, the lowest of any modern American president. But that report from the non-existent Lovenstein Institute turned out to be a hoax.
Amusing. Given that the numbers are based from extrapolations from tow different tests taken at different times, we shouldn’t make much of this. Furthermore, the difference between an IQ of 120 and “the mid 120’s” is miniscule and irrelevant to who would make a more effective president. It does amaze me, though, that the “Bush is dumb” meme refuses to die. Bush’s oratorical skills are mediocre for a politician, but that’s hardly the most important indicator of brain power.