A raging debate in recent years about the intelligence—or lack thereof—of certain political figures reflects an impression that IQ scores are doled out like Social Security numbers and with greater transparency.
It certainly isn’t the case that IQ is irrelevant. Because IQ highly correlates to academic achievement and academic achievement correlates to financial success, IQ is positively correlated with both financial success and overall wealth. A political candidate who owns a strong intelligence could be predicted to use that intelligence to solve problems in both the political and academic arenas.
However, the correlation is not perfect. Our current Genius-in-Chief illustrates the imperfect connection between presumed IQ and real world or political intelligence. Consider the praise President Obama’s mind garners; listening to his supporters, one would think that he could easily turn a deficit into a surplus, discontent into ecstasy, incivility into civility, a recession into a boom, or, excuse our cheekiness, algae into sufficient energy.
Historian Michael Beschloss claimed about Obama: “this is a guy whose IQ is off the charts…he’s probably the smartest guy ever to become President.”
Our nation’s foremost authority on intelligence, George Clooney, recently stated, “look, there’s a guy in office right now who is smarter than almost anyone you know.”