November 26, 2008

Even in red states, smarter people don't hunt, fish, or watch cars run laps


Well, that interlude of Catalan girls was refreshing, but now it's back to the quant grindstone. In Monday's post on the relationship between IQ and interest in sports, I showed that hunting and fishing, as well as going to auto races, decline as you look at smarter people. Although I looked only at whites, I didn't separate them by region. A commenter said this:

But in my experience, this is a lot more of a regional thing. A smart guy in Kansas or Wyoming is a lot more likely to hunt than a dumb guy in New York City.

Another commenter said this in a related post by Audacious Epigone:

You have made a critical error in your analysis. Alaska is a special case. Hunting is more of an integral activity for Alaskan kids and adults. It's the low IQ Alaskans who don't hunt.

They are both wrong.

The GSS doesn't allow us to look state-by-state, but it does allow us to look at regions. Obviously the commenters above are talking about the red state / blue state divide, so I lumped regions into red and blue categories. They aren't perfect, but they're pretty close. * In the end, I don't care how closely they match up with a "voted for Bush" map, since that's not the point -- the point is to carve the country up into NASCAR and Starbucks states, which is what I'm calling red and blue.

[Update] The original graphs I posted below are for HUNTFISH and AUTORACE. However, the question HUNT, which asks if you go hunting, has been asked for much longer, and so has a much larger sample size, allowing me to look at the full spectrum of IQ scores. The data are from white respondents only. Here is a graph showing that as you look at smarter people, in either red or blue states, hunting declines in popularity:

The red-state line is almost always above the blue-state one, validating my choice of which regions are red and blue. In both regions, hunting is most popular with those of average or below-average intelligence. As you move up the above-average group, they are increasingly less likely to go hunting. The only differences between red and blue states are that red-staters of above-average IQ are at most a whopping 5% more likely to hunt than their blue state counterparts, and that dumb red staters are even more likely to go hunting than dumb blue staters. As I say below, the upper end of red-staters are LESS likely to hunt than the lower end of blue-staters. [End of update]

So here is a follow-up, still looking only at whites, but now comparing patterns in red vs. blue states. I only counted IQ groups that had about 40 individuals or more (for red states, the 4 and 9 groups had 38 and 36 people, but I counted that as close enough, just to get comparable groups).

Two boring, expected findings: 1) hunting and fishing are more popular than going to auto races (perhaps due to cost and schedule flexibility), and 2) for all but the lowest IQ class, red staters hunt and fish or go to auto races more than blue staters. As with the national data, in blue states an interest in hunting and fishing or going to auto races declines as you look at smarter people (Spearman's rank correlation for hunting and auto races with IQ is -0.94, two-tailed p = 0.035 and -0.89, p = 0.047).

In red states, the pattern is only slightly different -- interest in these low-class activities doesn't strictly decline with IQ (Spearman's rank correlations are not significant). But for everyone who is average or above in IQ -- those who score 5 or more out of 10 -- it does (Spearman's rank correlations are -1.00, two-tailed p = 0.044). So, hunting and fishing and NASCAR are most popular with average people in red states, but the higher you move above them in IQ, the less that people are interested in this stuff, exactly as in blue states. Moreover, the downward slopes don't even look very different, so it's not as if IQ and hunting or NASCAR are more strongly related among blue state smarties.

Finally, "a smart guy in Kansas or Wyoming" is LESS likely to hunt than Joe Sixpack in New York -- I mean, really. The highest three IQ groups in red states all hunt and fish less than the below-average blue state group. This is even more true for NASCAR.

We live in a strange time when rich, educated red staters have managed to convince some people that they're in touch with the common man -- which they aren't (and of course neither are rich, educated blue staters). They don't give a shit about blasting down animals with guns or watching logo-encrusted cars zip around a speedway 500 times in a row. I just checked, and will write up the results later, but high-class activities increase in popularity as IQ increases -- in red and blue states.

Why is this such frightening news? It's something that rich, educated red staters should trumpet, not sweep under the rug: "We too love the ballet and hate NASCAR -- can't us smarties all just get along?" The elites are more polarized than the masses for social and political values (see Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State), but in the cultural arena, it seems that the elites are pretty similar, while the middle differs the most between red and blue states.

To wrap things up, here are the follow-up graphs for doing sports or attending a sports event, which isn't broken down by sport. They show pretty much the same pattern as the national data, although the upper end in blue states is more physically active and attends sports events more often than their red state counterparts.

* I counted the following regions as blue states:

New England - Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut
Middle Atlantic - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
East North Central - Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin
Pacific - Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii

These regions are the red states:

West North Central - Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas
South Atlantic - Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida
East South Central - Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi
West South Central - Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas
Mountain - Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada


  1. As a guy with an IQ of 135 who hunts and fishes (no NASCAR), I'd like to suggest that the title of this post be amended to "smarter people are LESS LIKELY to hunt, fish, etc." But I do have to say that I'm surprised. These finding don't jibe with my experience, but I guess my experience has not been typical.

  2. Agnostic,

    I don't hunt, but have fished some.

    I always respected hunters however, because if civilization really fell apart due to war, economic distress, a complete meltdown of institutions, these men (they are usually men) could still feed themselves and their families and restart it all over again, unlike the welfare-addicts in New Orleans post-Katrina, who sat their like babies who had shit their diapers waiting for the hated "man" to come bail them out.

    Ive always had a peculiar respect for farmers for much the same reason.

    Our ancestors had to CONQUER these tasks (hunting and fishing) for our civilization to reach this point. We didn't always have mechanized agriculture, and at one time you had to hunt your protien, or catch it out of a body of water. These are USEFUL little hobbies that teach a healthy respect for the earth.

    These hobbies are "manly" hobbies that dont do harm to anyone. A NASCAR race (I actually went to one of those when I was a five year old) is basically a chance for working-class white people to go have a picnic with thousands of other white people who dont look down on them. As Steve Sailer has pointed out, its pretty much an ethnic pride event for the race who are not supposed to be allowed to indulge in ethnic pride events.

    It amazes and astonishes me to see cultural elite types constantly try and harp on these people (working class whites). These aren't the people who make our cities unsafe, who bankrupt our social transfer payments system, who are problem employees, or who flood our legal system with frivolous lawsuits, or the people who tear apart the social fabric wanting special rights.

    I mean whatthefuck are they supposed to do on their weekends off? Go out and park their cars in a way that blocks the street, turn up their radios really loud and "thump" their base settings, drink malt liquor and get in fights and sell drugs and use spray paint cans to tag' areas as under the dominion of themselves and their homies and generally contribute to the air of menace in their neighborhoods? Oh, wait a minute...................I was actually describing those people that whiterpeople cannot dissaprove of and be socially correct. Its only cool to make fun of rural whites isn't it? We lose too much face making fun of everybody else....

    I went fishing two weeks ago with a 28 year old from Michigan and another friend. He's really into fishing. He went into the Army because there are no jobs in Michigan right now due to the economy being rather suppressed. He was a good guy, has a wife and daughter, and was "into" fishing. He reads a great deal about it and is very good at it and knows the biology and feeding/mating patterns of various freshwater fish so well that he practically always catches fish whenever he goes out.

    HE LEFT FOR IRAQ LAST WEEK. We may never see him again. Trust me, the people who hunt and fish rarely are the problem with this nation.

  3. Agnostic, you are neglecting a huge issue: income and food supplementation.

    In Alaska, Peanut Butter (no kidding) costs $12-15 a jar. Peanut Butter! Everybody hunts and fishes to stretch out their food budget. Wages are high but so is the cost of living. For example, in Fairbanks the extreme cold makes water mains impractical. So Water must be trucked in and stored inside tanks. Same with septic needs (no sewers).

    To a lesser extent, hunting and fishing are "thrifty" activities that decline as income increases. Of course, income and IQ are roughly correlated, but it's quite likely that class stratum and Affirmative Action makes that less highly correlated than before.

    Imagine you are a bright, but sadly White young man born to parents of middling or lower income, in the South or Mountain West. Your available educational options are a State School, given that you are by definition (White) ineligible for any government aid and student loads put a crushing debt load on you. Besides, prestige schools admit legacy or Wealthy White kids and Minorities. That's it.

    Your career might be middling class, as some sort of engineer or whatever, but hunting and fishing if done prudently can definitely stretch a food budget. Giving excess income.

    The rise of the "rent-extractor" class in the various NGO's, Government offices, Academia, Media, Legal, and Entertainment class (think the "Harvard Mafia" that writes the Simpsons) means that IQ and income correlation could be disconnected quite radically from what was true in the past. Moreover, if you look at say, the Simpsons, you have a few highly paid Harvard writers from elite, hereditary wealth, and most of the drawings done in South Korea by low-wage labor.

  4. People of average or below-average IQ don't hunt because they're hungry -- for that they go to McDonalds, fix Hamburger Helper, or collect unemployment / welfare checks. Hunting requires too much time and effort. It's a leisure activity.

    My mom's side of the family are Appalachian hillbillies, and the only time they hunted out of hunger was during the Great Depression.

    I didn't say that hunters or NASCAR fans are a threat to the nation. I look down my nose at their leisure activities and the way they dress, and they do the exact same to me: "wearing a scarf and going to the ballet are for fags." We're not saying the other is evil or shouldn't be allowed to vote.

    Plus I'm equal-opportunity -- I make fun of the stupid things that smart white people do too. Postmodernism, paying $10 for a cupcake, etc.

  5. I have to say, h-bd bloggers are a sort of interesting mix of Republican and Democratic stereotypes. You're intellectual snobs but pro-white, etc.

  6. I'm over two years late to the party, but I figure I'll drop a note in any event. Whiskey's appraisal of the situation in Alaska, and to a lesser extent Montana and Idaho is probably accurate. Subsistence hunting is reasonably prevalent, and is (by it's very definition) primarily an activity engaged in by the poor.

    That said, the weight of these individuals is likely small on the over-all trend.


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