Using statistical methods to translate several personality traits associated with intelligence, Mr. Simonton has compiled IQ estimates for every American president. General acuity is a crucial measure of a leader's performance, he says, but given that most presidents died before the advent of intelligence tests, their IQ's have remained a mystery.
Mr. Simonton calculates that President Bush's IQ probably ranges between 111.1 and 138.5, with an average near 125. That would place Mr. Bush "in the upper range of college graduates in raw intellect," he writes. Moreover, he says that these findings endorse what has been claimed on the basis of the president's SAT scores and Harvard MBA: "namely, that his IQ most likely exceeds 115. ... He is certainly smart enough to be president of the United States."
That is the good news for the president. The bad news is that his estimated IQ is lower than that of nearly every other president who preceded him. In fact, the only president during the 20th century to score lower than President Bush was Warren G. Harding. Mr. Harding, who graduated from Ohio Central College, had an estimated IQ range between 107.8 and 139.9, with an average just below 124.
President Grover Cleveland, whose nonconsecutive terms made him the nation's 22nd and 24th chief executive, was rated slightly higher than Mr. Bush, with an estimated IQ range of 116.9 to 144.
John Quincy Adams, a graduate of Harvard College, was the president with the highest estimated IQ. He had a score that ranged between 165 and 175. Other high scores came from Presidents Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, and Bill Clinton. Some of the lowest-scoring presidents included James Monroe, Andrew Johnson, and Ulysses S. Grant.
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The article, "Presidential IQ, Openness, Intellectual Brilliance, and Leadership: Estimates and Correlations for 42 U.S. Chief Executives," is available to subscribers or for purchase through Blackwell Publishing.