The Smartest U.S. Presidents According To Their IQ Score

20. Barack Obama (IQ 145-150)

Image: Just Jared

While former President Barack Obama’s IQ was never formally tested, it’s believed to be around 145-150, which is well above average. Based on how well Obama ran the country from 2008-2016, he is considered one of the smartest presidents to grace the Oval Office.

19. James Polk (IQ 143.4)

Image: Miller Center

A member of the Democratic Party, former President James Polk is considered one of the last strong presidents before the Civil War. With an IQ of 143.4, Polk was the 11th president of the United States and best known for his territorial expansion of the U.S. through the Mexican-American War.

18. George H.W. Bush (IQ 143)

Image: The Famous People

President George H.W. Bush has an IQ of 143 and is the oldest living former president at the age of 91. During his presidency, he passed the Americans with Disabilities Act and led a grand coalition with Arab nations, finally creating trust between those countries and the United States.

17. Richard Nixon (IQ 142.6)

Image: NPR

You would think with such a high IQ, former President Nixon wouldn’t have made some of the decisions that led to the Watergate Scandal. He is the only president in the history of the United States to resign, and was succeeded by Gerald Ford.

16. Ronald Reagan (IQ 141.9)

Image: Washington Times

Considered to be one of the most beloved presidents in the history of the United States, Ronald Reagan would define the Republican Party for years to come. He had great success in domestic and international politics and in case you weren’t aware, was an actor in Hollywood prior to entering politics.

15. Herbert Hoover (IQ 141.6)

Image: National Archive

Despite being highly intellectual, Herbert Hoover had no political or military experience prior to being elected as the 31st President of the United States. He’s best known for the stock market crash of 1929 and some blame him for triggering the Great Depression.

14. Calvin Coolidge (IQ 127.1)

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Calvin Coolidge was the 30th President of the United States and a Republican lawyer from Vermont who worked his way up the political ladder. While his IQ isn’t one of the highest on this list, it was his response to the Boston Police Strike in 1919 that gained him national recognition and would eventually landed him the presidency where he served two terms from 1923-1929.

13. Lyndon Johnson (IQ 140)

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Lyndon Johnson is best known for being the Vice-President for John F. Kennedy for two years before succeeding to the presidency after Kennedy’s assassination. Due to his lengthy political career, he is the only president to have served in both Congress and the Senate.

12. Gerald Ford (IQ 140.4)

Image: Britannica Kids

Gerald Ford was the 38th President of the United States and as you can see, he was pretty smart in terms of his IQ. After serving as vice-president to President Nixon for only 8 months, he was sworn in as president in January of 1974. He is best known for giving Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any of the crimes he may have committed.

11. Franklin Pierce (IQ 141)

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Serving as the 14th president, Franklin Pierce graduated from Bowdoin College and was elected to the New Hampshire state legislature at the young age of 24. He became speaker only two years and eventually served as president from 1853-1857. We see that high IQ definitely came in handy.

10. John Tyler ( IQ 142)

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John Tyler was the 10th President of the United States, taking over for William Harrison after he died in 1841. Despite having an IQ of 142, none of his political peers took him very seriously because he was the first vice-president to become president by default and without an election. Regardless, Tyler implemented many positive legislation during his term, one being a tariff bill to protect manufacturers in the north.

9. Millard Fillmore (IQ 143)

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Fillmore served as the 13th president and according to estimates had an IQ of 143. He was born in a log cabin in the Finger Lakes in 1800 and went on to become a lawyer before being elected to the House of Representatives. He was pushed into the presidency when Zachary Tyler unexpectedly died and he only served for three years.

8. Franklin D. Roosevelt (IQ 146)

Image: NPR

Taking office during the Great Depression, Roosevelt had the odds stacked against him as president. Thankfully, his smarts and being a graduate from Harvard University helped him navigate the stormy waters. Despite being diagnosed with polio, he was able to implement a sweeping economic overhaul that would bring financial recovery to businesses and relief for the unemployed.

7. Abraham Lincoln (IQ 148)

Image: Pacific Standard

He may have had wooden teeth, but Abraham Lincoln came from humble beginnings and thanks to his smarts would go on to be the 16th President of the United States. Lincoln is best known for keeping the Union together during the Civil War and freeing the slaves from the Confederacy. Sadly, he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth while attending the theater, ending his term early.

6. Chester Arthur (IQ 148)

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After James Garfield was assassinated, Chester Arthur would become the 21st president. He graduated from Union College and practiced law for quite some time before being elected as vice-president on the Republican ticket with James Garfield. He spent most of his time in office devoted to civil service and reforming processes and procedures.

5. James Garfield (IQ 148)

Image: Famous People

James Garfield sadly only served as the 20th president for one year before being assassinated. Despite such a short term in office, Garfield helped reform the US Navy, expel corruption from the Post Office Department and even appointed African-Americans to important federal positions. Seems like a swell and smart man!

4. Theodore Roosevelt (IQ 149)

Image: Library of America

Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest president to ever take office at the age of 43. Graduating from Harvard University in 1880, he studied law at Columbia before dropping out to run for public office. Later, he would serve two terms as the 26th president of the United States.

3. Woodrow Wilson (IQ 152)

Image: The Atlantic

Woodrow Wilson had an impressive IQ of 152 and was the leader of the progressive movement. He worked as president of Princeton, University for 8 years and was also the governor of New Jersey, before being elected as the 28th President of the United States. He’s best known for his Fourteen Points speech, where he discussed his long-term war objectives during the end of World War I.

2. Jimmy Carter (IQ 153)

Image: Time Magazine

Jimmy Carter served one-term as the 39th president from 1977 to 1981. He beat Gerald Ford by only 56 electoral votes and would go on to put forth many important policies during his time in office. His most significant accomplishments were a national energy policy, as well as bringing about civil service reform.

1. James Madison (IQ 155)

Image: Miller Center

One of the fathers of the Constitution, James Madison had a pretty high IQ of 155. He graduated from Princeton University in 1771 and would go on to study law before helping produce the Federalist Papers in 1788. He would go on to be elected the fourth President of the United States.

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