“The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid.” – Art Spander.
When the Constitution was drafted, the first Republicans like Alexander Hamilton worried about mob rule, the idea that the common people would be unable to make intelligent votes and consequently vote for the wrong man. After the recent controversial election of November 2004, websites popped up all over the web denouncing the supposed stupidity of Republicans in voting for Bush. Was this another attempt to belittle the winners, or is there truth in these allegations?
Problem Statement: After the 2004 presidential election, studies were conducted to find relations between the general characteristics of the voters and which political party they represented. Eager to discover whether these theories are indeed valid, AP Statistics Group 8 decided to investigate the possible correlation between the average IQ of each state and which party they voted for in the last presidential election. Although the choice of using the 2004 election does not model a simple random sample, the latest IQ of each state would be most accurate to this year’s election, and we will also be using the results of the past ten elections as the population to compare with the data from the sample.
While internet rumors claim that the votes for the presidential candidates were biased and skewed towards one party because the Democrats are predominantly intelligent and the Republicans predominantly of lower intelligence, Group 8 hypothesizes that these reports are incorrect and that there is no correlation between the IQ of the voters from a state and the party for which they voted. We believe that IQ does not determine one’s intellect and that intelligence does not reflect one’s choice of who to vote for. To verify the falsehood of these internet studies, the group needed to gather accurate data without bias.
An important factor in gathering accurate data was to collect different samples of data. This bivariate data compared the average state IQ’s with their dominant voting preferences. This data was numerical and discrete since it compared the scores of IQ to the percentages of people who voted Democrat. The measures of central tendency, which include the mean, median, or mode of the IQ’s, reveal the prevailing tendencies of that election in our sample.
Similarly, the measures of dispersion, range, and interquartile range have real significance here as well since it would make sense to find out how divisive the United States was when its citizens voted for Bush or Kerry. This study was empirical in nature as it relied on observation to make assumptions. In this observational study, we took existing data and drew relationships between the two variables of interest. Each website had a different method of measuring the IQ, and some sites were more reliable than others. One site used the mean SAT and ACT scores to convert them to an IQ scale, another site used high school degrees and college degrees. We didn’t want to place blind faith in one site, so we averaged the IQs given to get more comprehensive data.
We decided to use the mean since the IQs were close to each other and there appeared to be no outliers. The median is generally used when outliers persist in the data. We didn’t stratify our data into the top 10 IQs and the last 10 IQs as we felt it would not give the best overview of the issue. However, we did choose to look explicitly at the percentage of voters who voted Democrat to narrow and simplify our data. This technique was known as blocking since it blocked out the extraneous factor of people voting for other parties.
This led to dichotomous data, as people would either be voting Democrat or not. Dichotomous data allows us to calculate the probability of an outcome using binomial distribution. However, in this statistics project, the dichotomous data created a sample space of Democrats or non-Democrats. We also decided to eliminate the confounding variable of popular votes and electoral votes because IQ is directly related to popular votes.
Electoral votes only represent a minority, and a highly educated minority at that, of the whole state. Precautions should be taken to ensure the absence or minimization of any potential biases.