Thursday, October 13, 2011

IRCPPS in the Links: Are Smarter Presidents Better Presidents?

Johns Sides considers this question in the Monkey Cage:
...Simonton measured various qualities of presidents by noting about 300 adjectives used to describe them in their biographies.  He then used a method of data reduction (factor-analysis) to reduce this long list of adjectives to 14 personality traits.  He demonstrates correlations between various of these traits and previous efforts at rating presidents on similar dimensions. Of course, no such effort is beyond reproach.  But Simonton’s is, on its face, a credible effort.  One of the dimensions he identifies is “intellectual brilliance”—precisely what we are discussing regarding Rick Perry.  He finds that a president’s intellectual brilliance is associated with a higher ranking by historians and others, controlling for other factors (years in office, the number of years the president presided over a war, whether the president was assassinated, beset by a scandal, or a war hero)...