Triple Nine Society Political Survey  
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Summary of the Triple Nine Society Poll Results

The Triple Nine Society is an exclusive group of people who have documented IQ scores in the upper one-tenth of one percent of the general population, corresponding to an IQ of approximately 150 or higher. The group has about 350 members worldwide, most of whom are U.S. citizens.

A survey was recently conducted of attitudes among Triple Nine Society (TNS) members toward various governmental policy issues through the inclusion of a 95-item multiple-choice questionnaire in the February/March issue of Vidya, the group's publication and primary forum for collegial discussions. The returned surveys (N=57, all U.S. citizens) were recorded for data processing, and summary statistics were generated as an estimate of the political opinions of this high-IQ group.

Most of the survey items asked for a rating from 1 to 5 to indicate the preferred degree of government involvement or regulation, across a wide variety of social and commercial domains. Other items asked for a ranking of alternative reforms.

The topics covered in this opinion sample include taxation policy and reforms (such as national sales tax, flat income tax, Internet commerce tax), budgetary priorities (subsidies for agriculture, education, research, and the arts), reform of public programs (Social Security and health care), and the degree of governmental restrictions on personal activities, data privacy, and commercial business.

A general consensus emerged in most areas, with a strong tendency toward minimum government regulation of personal and commercial matters, and a clear desire for changes in existing methods of taxation.

Taxation. The top choice of TNS members among taxation methods is a national sales tax (preferred as first choice by 45% of the respondents, as second choice by 17%); second choice is some variation of a flat income tax (preferred as first choice by 35%, as second choice by 30%); and third choice is a value-added tax (31% rate it third choice, 21% rate it second choice). The present tax system is rated last choice by 58% and a simplified version of it is rated fourth choice by 38%, signaling a strong desire for tax reform. An Internet sales tax, however, is rejected by 60% as something that should "never be allowed."

Public Programs. Social Security is inadequate in its present form, according to the survey, and the top preference (33%) among the choices rated is to allow an optional partial investment of one's social security tax in the private sector. The preference in public health care policy is for a system that provides care and medical supplies to the poor and the elderly (favored by 67% to 74%), but not necessarily to all people, especially not those in other countries (opposed by 82% to 90%). Abortion is acceptable with some safeguards but less federal governmental intervention, according to 95% of the TNS membership sample, while doctor-assisted suicide is considered acceptable by 76% and should be regulated, with safeguards against abuse. Opinions about the use of the death penalty are split between extremes, with 33% wanting to see more use of it, 25% wanting it outlawed, and 21% content with the status quo.

Subsidies. A strong preference is expressed for no subsidization of agriculture, education, welfare, and the arts, with 52% to 73% wanting no subsidies. On the other hand, moderately generous subsidies are preferred for basic scientific and medical research (53% and 51%), and moderate to generous subsidies for drug research (70%).

Military. The use of military force is strongly approved for defense of the US, its allies, and its vital interests (89% to 100%). It is less favored for supporting the UN (49%) or general peace-keeping activities (12% to 23%), and is wanted by only 12% for "combating communism (as in Vietnam)."

Commercial Regulation. The TNS membership is split almost 50-50 on whether the government should limit the tobacco industry (one-third of the respondents do not want any government litigation against the tobacco companies), and is likewise split about 50-50 between extremes on the anti-trust case against Microsoft. 81% of the sampled membership does not think that trade with China should be linked to human rights, but rather believes that it should be maintained at the present level or increased. In the recent area of bioengineering (such as genetic engineering of food, animals, and humans, and the cloning of animals), the majority (over 60%) favors minimum regulation of this industry. Opinions on human cloning are split evenly between the extremes. Affirmative action based on race or sex is unwanted by about 80% of the sample. Increased spending for environmental protection is supported by about one-half of the respondents. The Federal Reserve is okay as it is, with 87% feeling a need for little or no change. With regard to the Internet, feelings about spam regulation are sharply divided between the extremes of "no laws" (31%) and "outlawing it" (30%).

Data Privacy. With increasingly detailed record-keeping come several issues surrounding the privacy of such data. Collection and use of DNA data from government employees, military personnel, and criminals is acceptable to a majority (about 58%), but collecting and using DNA information from non-criminal civilians is not considered acceptable, with 77% calling for moderate to severe restrictions and 45% favoring outlawing it altogether. Likewise, the sale or distribution of personal details from government records is strongly opposed (95%). Attitudes about political candidates' privacy were split between extremes, with a definite preference for protection of the candidates' privacy with regard to their past sex lives and a slight preference for disclosure of information about their finances and drug use. Employer use of random drug-testing is considered okay (by 66%) for safety-related occupations, but not acceptable (by 68%) for occupations unrelated to safety.

Civil Regulation. In the area of government efforts to regulate citizens' private lives, there is a decided preference for minimal restrictions on such activities as gambling (56%), prostitution (60%), pornography (77%), and use of alcohol (66%), tobacco (66%), and marijuana (71%). Likewise, with regard to illicit drugs, there is a clear preference (about 80%) for legalization, with some controls over use (as is currently the case with alcohol). In many of these areas there is a consistent minority of 5% to 10% at the more conservative end of the spectrum. 80% prefer minimal legal restrictions on adult content on the Internet. Gun ownership is also supported by a 94% majority, with a minority in favor of more restrictions.

Presidential Candidates. One last area surveyed was the TNS membership's opinions on the relative intelligence of the recent presidential candidates. Interestingly, the top four candidates (ranked by TNS members in terms of apparent intelligence) are now out of the race. The Republican candidate (George Bush) is perceived as the least intelligent overall, with Reform party candidate Pat Buchanan in sixth place, and the Democratic candidate (Al Gore) in the fifth position. If these subjective evaluations are valid, then native intelligence is apparently not selected for under the present electoral system, at least at the party-nomination level.

Summary. The TNS opinions sampled here show a clear preference for minimal government involvement in personal lifestyle matters (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, pornography, gambling) and commercial business (subsidies, genetic engineering, Internet commerce, trade with China). In addition to preferring a minimum of government regulation, TNS members wish to see an overhaul of our present tax system, support greater funding for scientific research, and do not want the military used as an 'international police force.'

Jon Miles
Miles Research

Co-investigators responsible for the
2000 TNS presidential election poll:
Kevin Langdon
Jon Miles
Heather Preston
Ted Robinson
Carl Strode
Bob Williams

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For more information, see: Triple Nine Society Website