The lazy and the stupid... and the Bush voter

I have been diarying about energy consumption issues.  In this diary, I will examine possible connections between a person's intelligence (as characterized by the universally acclaimed metric of IQ), and his/her energy consumption... and his/her possible inclinations to vote Republican.

The bottomlines:  

(1) a state's inclination to vote Democratic can be strongly correlated by it's per capita energy consumption.

(2) Of the more energy efficient states, only Colorado and Utah voted for Bush in 2004.  It is ironic that these are now threatening to turn blue

(3) The swing states tend to be those where per capita energy consumption is close to the US Average.

(4) If you add up (1)-(3) above, it would mean that a push for energy efficiency would also result in more Democratic leaning voters.

This chart summarizes the statewide Bush vote share in the 2004 elections as a function of that state's per capita energy consumption.

As you can see, there is a very strong correlation between the two.  Notice that I use the word "correlation" and not "cause-effect".  

And what about IQ ?  The chart below plots average statewide IQ as a function of statewide per capita energy consumption.

Notice the absence of any correlation.  [The slightly negative slow of the "fit" is meaningless in this case ~ the uncertainty in the estimated negative slope is greater than the slope itself.]
Thus, we can safely conclude that there is no discernible correlation between intelligence and energy consumption ~ smart people and stupid people are just as likely to be energy hogs!

Again, notice that I used the phrase "no discernible correlation".  This implies that there may be a correlation, but that the correlation is too small to be measured with the methods in this plot.

And finally, is there a tendency amongst smart people to vote Democratic ?

Unfortunately (fortunately, from my viewpoint... I happen to be a centrist with progressive inclinations), the answer is No.  You can see this from the chart below:

Once again, I would ignore the slightly negative slope of the fit ~ the uncertainly in the estimated slope is greater than the slope itself, and therefore the negative value of the slope is meaningless...This data does not imply that dump people are more likely to vote Democratic.

And what about the swing states ?  In the chart below, I have marked 15 swing states of 2008 in Orange.  As you can see, the swing states tend to be those that have intermediate levels of energy consumption ~ where the per capita energy consumption is close the US Average (12,347 kWhr/person-year)

(1) ers_by_state/
(2) per_capita_electricity_2005.html
(3) #Swing_States_as_of_2008

Update [2008-6-24 13:54:24 by SevenStrings]: Thanks to BobzCat, BishopRook, alyssa chaos, ihaveseenenough, and Dog Chains for putting this on the reclist! Thanks are also due to another slow day at MyDD =)

Tags: Bush, consumption, Energy (all tags)



Re: The lazy and the stupid... and the Bush voter

I recc'd it because it is a quite interesting premise, not really sure where it took me though!

by Dog Chains 2008-06-24 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: The lazy and the stupid... and the Bush voter

Thank you for the rec...

I am trying to motivate progressives to push for energy efficiency.... because that is the pathway to electoral success !

The data does not justify a cause-effect relationship, but it does not hurt to try, does it =)

by SevenStrings 2008-06-24 09:30AM | 0 recs
I was scared for a second

When I saw the graphs with no real correlation, I thought you were about to say they show a negative correlation just because the fit line happened to be slightly negative.  Thanks for proving me wrong on that. :)

Very interesting diary.  Though this might be a common cause rather than a causal relationship.

That is: Urban voters tend to vote largely Democratic while rural voters tend to vote largely Republican.  Urban areas (and by the same token, urban states) tend to have lower per-capita energy consumption than rural areas (and states).

So while the correlation is there, one doesn't cause the other (low energy consumption -> Democrat; Democrat -> low energy consumption), but rather have a common cause (urban vs. rural disparity).  The difference in politics is more because of the social differences between urban and rural areas, while the difference in energy usage is more because of geographic/structural differences.

by BishopRook 2008-06-24 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: I was scared for a second

You may be right in the common causality... I tried to emphasize that in the diary.

I am not sure about the urban/rural distinction tho... I will try to dig out some data on that.

by SevenStrings 2008-06-24 09:43AM | 0 recs
Re: I was scared for a second

You were careful to say you didn't mean cause and effect, I'm just considering possible and likely explanations for the correlation.

by BishopRook 2008-06-24 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: I was scared for a second

I am sure there is some data somewhere on urban vs rural energy consumption... will look for that sometime !!

by SevenStrings 2008-06-24 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: The lazy and the stupid... and the Bush voter
interesting-  im not sure how you end up with your final conclusion; that energy efficiency yields electoral success? or is it that energy efficient states lean Democratic?

[? confused]
by alyssa chaos 2008-06-24 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: The lazy and the stupid... and the Bush voter

Well, the final conclusion is a bit of a leap of faith.

Energy efficient states tend to lean democratic is conclusion #1.  Therefore (and this the leap of faith part), if you push for energy efficiency, you will also make more states democratic!

by SevenStrings 2008-06-24 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: The lazy and the stupid... and the Bush voter

Love the title.

I was sort of coming to the same conclusion from your last couple of diaries about energy efficiency. I think the urban vs. rural issue BishopRock brings up is definitely part of the equation. But, that doesn't mean that there's no Democratic/IQ related cause and effect.

Cities attract a certain type of people -- those who have the intelligence, ingenuity, and motivation to move to the "big city" to pursue success. City people tend to vote Democratic. City people tend to use less electricity. Sure, maybe the demand for electricity is greater in rural areas, but I'm willing to bet it's more a function of: smart people move to cities, smart people are energy efficient, smart people vote Democratic.

by LakersFan 2008-06-24 10:58AM | 0 recs


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