The American Ignoramus

If democracy requires an informed citizenry to function well, the United States is in serious trouble. Many Americans are political ignoramuses. It doesn't take much effort to describe the typical citizen's political ignorance. The Pew Research Center for The People & The Press, for example, has plumbed random samples of the public's public affairs knowledge about twice a year since 2007. The questions have varied in substance and format, but the results have been uniformly dismal. The average correct score is usually just above 50% which, if judged by the usual academic standard --90+% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, <60% = F -- would be F. Since people who cannot be contacted or refuse to take part in polls are more politically ignorant than those who do, these are generous estimates of the public's political knowledge. It's estimated that 25% to 33% or more of the adult populace is "missing in action" when poll results are reported. Were these people's...(Read Full Article)