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Americans know surprisingly little about their government, survey finds

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posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 01:30 PM
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Americans know surprisingly little about their government, survey finds

Americans show great uncertainty when it comes to answering basic questions about how their government works, a national survey conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania has found.

Okay, I do not know what is so "surprising" about it is, it is rather quite expected and evident ...
Only 36 percent of Americans can name the three branches of government

Wednesday marked national Constitution Day, the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. But only 36 percent of Americans can actually name the three branches of government the Constitution created.
*****
Only 38 percent of Americans knew the Republican Party controls the U.S. House of Representatives, while 17 percent think Democrats are still in charge. The number of people who knew Republicans were in charge has dropped 17 percent since the last time Annenberg asked, back in 2011, right after Republicans reclaimed control.

An identical number, 38 percent, knows Democrats run the Senate, while 20 percent believe Republicans control the upper chamber. Only 27 percent knew it takes a two-thirds majority of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto.
*****
They cited Annenberg’s 2011 survey, which found just 15 percent of Americans could correctly identify the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, while 27 percent knew Randy Jackson was a judge on American Idol. Only 13 percent knew the Constitution was signed in 1787

Sad really, and I can see why our state affairs is in such a decline. How many Americans can name the starting roster of half the NFL yet fail to know who their own congress persons are?

Other groups, like the Civics Education Initiative, are pushing to include more civics education in high schools by requiring students to pass the same citizenship test that immigrants do when they come to the U.S. That group will introduce legislation in seven states that would require passage of the citizenship test before graduating.

Oh! I agree with that approach! Actually, when my son entered his politics class the teacher emailed parents before school started and asked if we had any questions, thoughts, or ideas and I suggested he give that test on the first day ... he told me he already had planned to.

See here (PDF) for more detailed survey results.

There are more sources and studies that show this data out there as well, it is really nothing new to report, just a new study.
edit on 9/18/2014 by AllSourceIntel because: formatting




posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 01:38 PM
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a reply to: AllSourceIntel

Yeah as you said, not real surprise here. How do you think we ended up with the current admin?



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 01:42 PM
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a reply to: Bilk22
The same we ended up with the last several ...



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 01:43 PM
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a reply to: AllSourceIntel

Grant you people don't pay attention to who "governs" them, but politics has gotten so filthy/dirty, that to want to understand it, makes one want to go and take a hot shower to scrub off the nasties.....



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 01:50 PM
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a reply to: seeker1963
Yeah, that is pretty true, but I would say that is more garbage than politics that one has to ignore and wade through. It really ties into people not only being (mis)educated, but misinformed. I plan to do a long post on media, (mis/dis)information and its ties to this issue sometime soon. Some of it is drafted already.



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 01:50 PM
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I know the government has some corrupt people at the top of every level.

I know there are some good people there too.

I know we have a very disfunctional government system that needs to be looked at.

I know the Lawyers are causing a very complex entangling mess in this country's government

When they fix these problems then I might consider learning more about it.



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 01:53 PM
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Who has time for that?
We're too busy getting, using, and maintaining all these little gadgets that the markets keep selling us.



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 02:14 PM
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a reply to: AllSourceIntel

sadly large swathes of americans know very little about anything



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 02:18 PM
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I am not casting aspersions on the OP. However, whether the general population is
aware of the branches of Government or not will have no effect on the course of
Government policy makers. Most folks on ATS may have answered the survey questions
correctly but does this imply we are anymore effective in altering the downward spiral of OUR country ? Apparently not ! Not sure why she wasted her money unless she has her own agenda.



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 02:31 PM
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originally posted by: dazbog
I am not casting aspersions on the OP. However, whether the general population is
aware of the branches of Government or not will have no effect on the course of
Government policy makers. Most folks on ATS may have answered the survey questions
correctly but does this imply we are anymore effective in altering the downward spiral of OUR country ?

No, probably not, but it would make more people better aware of how things are suppose to work ... which in turn should lead to more being awoken, which in turn should grow the social movement, which in turn should put enough pressure on Government to be more effective; and, if not, force them to be. It's a process, a slow process I guess.



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 02:40 PM
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originally posted by: ignorant_ape
a reply to: AllSourceIntel

sadly large swathes of americans know very little about anything



So true...

But if you know how to capitalize on your Phd., write up a snappy little research proposal like Dr. Kathleen; you can live large in the academic world on the taxpayers dime.

The world of grants, proposals, research, can be quite lucrative. Even researching what everyone already knows; as this survey demonstrated.
edit on 18-9-2014 by olaru12 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 02:56 PM
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originally posted by: AllSourceIntel
a reply to: Bilk22
The same we ended up with the last several ...
Can't argue with that.



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 03:14 PM
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are you freaking kidding me? they sampled 1400 people, JUST 1400 people, and then title their results as an all encompassing ALL OF AMERICA.


that would be like me asking these questions to one high school drop out and stating his beliefs must be equal to that of all high school students in his district,

come on now, studies are easy enough to sway as it is cant we learn to ignore these tiny ass sample studies?

seriously, their stats reflect 0.0004, percent of the population of america,


if we are gonna take studies as indicators cant we set some sort of limit? like 1%? atleast?!


ETA: not that i doubt most are ignorant of these things listed in the article honestly it wouldnt surprise me, but im not about to let a study cement in my mind, a speculative impression or opinion when said study is so flawed.
edit on 9/18/14 by pryingopen3rdeye because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 03:28 PM
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I have learned a whole lot about how our government is supposed to work, and how it does work. So what, in the practical sense it does me no good whatsoever. I know my rights and assert them, so what, doesn't help me any should I come across a cop that doesn't give a crap about anyone's rights.

I mean, what is the point anymore? We have not run our country for a long, long time now, money has been steering the ship. I vote for people that don't seem like scumbags, pitty only like a few people even hear about them but me, due to money running the show. It's a joke. My time would have better spent creating art, or learning more survival and guerilla warefare techniques, or something that might actually be useful.



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 04:25 PM
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Find me an American that can recite all the American Presidents from beginning to end, and I would tell you ha ha.
Find me an American that can recite all the American Presidents in random order from beginning to end, and I would tell you ha ha.

If we can't even remember the leadership (nor is it emphasized to be learned) how can you not fathom they don't know government. Hell, America is a country where the tax code is what, 12K pages???? People paid to know it don't know.

Bloated government combined with a collapsing educational system is the problem.

#For the record, I know the POTUSES, but not in order.

edit on 18-9-2014 by ArchPlayer because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 04:51 PM
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a reply to: ArchPlayer
I know em in order, we learned it in a song in like 3rd grade lol. More useless filler in my organic memory chip brain wasted



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 04:55 PM
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a reply to: ArchPlayer
I use to know them all in order, now I am not even sure I know them all off the top of my head, but I know most.



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 05:23 PM
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originally posted by: pryingopen3rdeye
are you freaking kidding me? they sampled 1400 people, JUST 1400 people, and then title their results as an all encompassing ALL OF AMERICA.


that would be like me asking these questions to one high school drop out and stating his beliefs must be equal to that of all high school students in his district,

come on now, studies are easy enough to sway as it is cant we learn to ignore these tiny ass sample studies?

seriously, their stats reflect 0.0004, percent of the population of america,


if we are gonna take studies as indicators cant we set some sort of limit? like 1%? atleast?!


ETA: not that i doubt most are ignorant of these things listed in the article honestly it wouldnt surprise me, but im not about to let a study cement in my mind, a speculative impression or opinion when said study is so flawed.

Not that I don't entirely disagree with you, but you understand the basics behind polling and survey methods with sample size and statistics yes?

Their sample size would statistically have a 99% confidence of results with roughly a 3.5% margin of error for the population as of today.
Sample Size Calculator
Sample Size: How Many Survey Participants Do I Need?

Yes studies are easy to sway and many are manipulate but this isn't the first study to show these results. A study will never capture the entire population unless it is part of the Census. Yes, the more people sought and who respond the more accurate the study will be and the more reflective of the population it will be, but scientifically, this study would hold up as representative while hinting for a more in-depth and larger sample size political scientists would want to look at.
I'll look for others that I mentioned in the OP.



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 06:03 PM
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originally posted by: TKDRL
a reply to: ArchPlayer
I know em in order, we learned it in a song in like 3rd grade lol. More useless filler in my organic memory chip brain wasted




originally posted by: TKDRL
a reply to: ArchPlayer
I know em in order, we learned it in a song in like 3rd grade lol. More useless filler in my organic memory chip brain wasted



You guys rock, lol. But most Americans don't know. They probably couldn't tell you about Rutherford B. Hayes and how between him and James Buchanan are considered the WORST POTUSES in US History.



posted on Sep, 18 2014 @ 09:31 PM
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a reply to: ArchPlayer

I just wanna vote for Teddy Roosevelt's ghost in 2016. We need some trust busting bad.

I know Hayes ended reconstruction cementing the south in poverty but that's about it. Also there he was elected very similarly to Bush Jr iirc. He lost the popular vote by a large margin but they disputed 3 states and the courts or congress got him the presidency. Something along those lines. I'm incredibly undereducated on american history and I still astonish people with what I know all the time.

It's sad how educating people on history could solved a lot since every problem we have now is much easier to grasp with a basic understanding of history. Someone should poll people on whether they know what Sykes picot was. I bet like 3 people out of a million know :p



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