Official: Lib Dem voters more intelligent than Tory and Labour voters (Nationalist, BNP and UKIP voters least intelligent of all)

by Stephen Tall on November 3, 2008

At last official research has told us what most Lib Dems have known for years: our voters are more intelligent than those who vote for the Tories or Labour. Academic research published in the journal Intelligence – and given an airing in today’s Guardian – compares the way people voted in the 2001 election with their IQ at the age of 10 (using data from the 1970 British cohort study).

And here’s what it shows:

On a party-by-party basis, the average (childhood) IQ scores for 2001 voters were:

Green – 108.3
Liberal Democrat – 108.2
Conservative – 103.7
Labour – 103
Plaid Cymru – 102.5
Scottish National – 102.2
UK Independence – 101.1
British National – 98.4
Did not vote/None of the above – 99.7

The Guardian concludes:

… the authors say there is also a correlation between high childhood intelligence and an above-average interest in politics. I suspect that may partly explain the figures, because people who are apathetic about politics may be unlikely to vote Green or Lib Dem in the first place. (Clever political activists can also vote Labour or Tory, but – because of the apathy vote – there may be proportionally fewer of them voting for the two main parties.) But this can’t be the full explanation, and the authors don’t seem to offer one either.

In fact, we’ve known for some time that Lib Dem voters are more likely to hold University degrees (an admittedly imperfect measure of intelligence) than the voters for Labour or the Tories, so the research is perhaps not all that surprising.

The larger point is probably this one: voting for the Lib Dems (or Greens) is less likely to be based on inherited or tribal loyalties because our core vote is much smaller. How many Labour/Tory voters do you know who vote pretty unthinkingly simply because that’s who their family or their peers vote for? Lib Dem voters (and, yes, Greens too) are proportionately more likely, therefore, to think for themselves.

As for the lower IQs of the Scottish and Welsh Nationalist, UKIP and BNP voters, how about this for a theory: nationalism in all its guises is an essentially negative ideology which plays to people’s stereotypes and fears, and is especially attractive to those who are suspicious of the unfamiliar, the foreign, the ‘other’. Small wonder, then, that those who choose to vote for such an ideology are those more likely to have closed minds.