Saturday, October 18, 2008

Americans Flunk Simple Political Survey

A survey, conducted between April 30 and June 1 by the
Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, measured the
political knowledge of 3,612 U.S. adults. Participants were asked
three simple questions; to name the controlling party of the
U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. secretary of state and
Great Britain's prime minister.

Overall, just 18 percent of the participants answered all three
questions correctly.

More than 50 percent of Americans knew that the Democrats
have a majority in the House, while 42 percent could identify the
secretary of state (Condoleezza Rice). Less than 30 percent could
name the prime minister of Great Britain (Gordon Brown).

This is hard to believe and absolutely pitiful. But it did bring this
adorable episode to mind...


  1. And do they know the president of France ???

    Is it pitiful ??? Bah, many are not interesting by politic...

    See You later Lady Willow...

  2. Well now, i got two out of three and I coul have said something resembling the president of France,but then I'm a Canadian, worn out by the third election for my MP in two years. And that is not a Military Policeman. Mmmm Condeleeza Rice.... I thought Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsveld ran just about everything.

  3. Oh I love Barney. The Andy griffith Show was my favorite rerun show since I did not see the original. Once I was testing our software and accidentally admitted the entire Mayberry gang to our Neonatal ICU. The secretary was wondering why there were adult patients in the unit list named Aunt Bea, Otis and Goober.

    As for political IQ, I think it stems from the fact that the majority of Americans have a very poor knowledge of their history and of the history of the world. Most don't even know America's biggest trading partner. They think it is China. They do not know the capital of the US and do not know the two countries that border America. Most do not know Patrick Henry and the significance of his statement. They have no clue who Alexander Hamilton is even if you hand them a $10.00 bill. That is why our country is in such a political rut and our Congress is increasingly becoming a government of, for, by the plutocrats.

    They may not know Sarkozy but they may know Carla bruni from the Enquirer or People magazine.

  4. I know the president of France! It's Sarkozy! (I knew that because my oldest daughter just returned from a year as an exchange student in France.)

    But I also know the preamble of the Constitution, as well as the opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, and the answers to all of the questions that were asked in the survey. But I admit that I'm quite unusual in that respect.

  5. Oh, I do love this Barney scene! One of my favorites. Thanks so much for posting it so I can watch over and over!

  6. I'm happy to say that I knew all three...and the president of France! But, I'm a Fox News junkie, so that probably isn't fair. ;) As for the Andy Griffith clip....I am laughing out loud! And it reminds me of helping my oldest study for tests back in elementary school. ha!

  7. That is pathetic, isn't it!? It honestly doesn't surprise me, though--I remember watching Jay Leno when he goes out on the street and asks random people questions. He once showed a photo of Laura Bush, and a ton of people said things like "Oh, she's so familiar--it's someone I should know, right?" or one actually said, "I know--I know--it's Judge Judy, isn't it!?" I'm always gobsmacked when I watch him do those on the street segments.

  8. And Barney could have been a good clip for your hair entry, too! :)

  9. Actually, the Barney clip would have been PERFECT with the hair post!

  10. Yes, it was hilarious!!!:)

    Willow, I got your postcard today! How fun! I love the pic of the mailbox! I'm glad we did this...I haven't gotten this much personal mail in years! :)

  11. Speaking of you remember the movie Ghost and Mr. Chicken? We watched it for the first time when I was 10 years old. I was scared to death to go to sleep every night for over a year and was too embarassed to tell anyone! After watching it as an adult, I see how HILARIOUS it is, but back then, I was petrefied!

  12. What a classic! Thanks for digging that one up. I loved that show as a kid! Good old Barney Fife! Don Knotts use to have a brother who lived in our area. He would come into town from time to time for a visit. My wife use to go to school with his nephew. Thanks again for the memory. Have a wonderful Sunday.

  13. Oh we are all really smart. I think those were just trick questions. Willow, how do you spell "the"?

    I learned all my civics from Schoolhouse Rock, my numbers from the Count on Sesame Street and all my gender politics from the Love Boat and I turned out just grate.

  14. France? What is that? Is that a new TV show:)

  15. As a lone Brit (I assume) amongst the commenters, I should be being insufferably smug. Except that I know with dismal certainty that if I went out into the street and asked similar questions the same levels of ignorance would be likely to prevail. In consequence, we get the leadership - political and economic - we deserve. Good luck on November 4th.

  16. It is pitiful but there are so many reasons for it. I have a post coming up after the US election (regardless of the results, for I am not a fortune-teller) related to this topic. I think that there are two sides of the same coin to analyse here. One is perceived dumbness of Americans ( totally unfounded in my view, but then again, I am not American, nor have I ever set foot in the country) and the other one is Americans' perception of their own country and culture. That's a heck of another subject.

    The clip was excellent, as usual. I laughed my head off.

    Greetings from London.

  17. Now try taking a blank template of this country .. an empty map if you will and see if you can fill in the correct names of the states ..


  18. I think I am pretty smart about politics and have been involved as a Democrat and a Republican but not involved in local levels. I had to stop and think about a couple of those questions but got them all.

  19. What an adorable video! Barney was the funniest character and so sincere. I think it's sad that as a country people don't have a clue about what's going on around them. I think they just don't care. Thanks again for Barney and Andy.

  20. Obviously I am not into American politics the same as you are but the video clip is funny.
    Enjoy your shortbread.
    I checke don the 'Chuck' meat on Friday in supermarket and we call it 'stewing steak' which is usually leg of beef.

  21. Sad.
    Love the harvest Moon in the sidebar.

    Come visit anytime,
    Troy and Martha

    PS: Alaska Sunday Hope, AK photos are up today.

  22. Webradio I get the extra point-Sarkosy...but I lose points because I can't spell his name correctly!

    As to the American political survey. Got the 1st 2 correct...and for the 3rd I knew it wasn't Tony Blair anymore, but I could not for the life of me remember Gordon Brown's name.

    As to Barney and Andy, don't you wish things were that simple again. There was so much kindness and respect written into those characters. We are missing that today with our love of violence and gratuitous sex.

  23. The video is hilarious Willow, but at the same time it scares the crap out of me. I mean these "low information" citizens still get to vote.

  24. I received your lovely post card yesterday! Thanks so much! I do remember your post about that mailbox -- hope the snakes have moved.

    Did you ever see the segment on the Jay Leno show where he asks simple questions to random people on the streets? It's amazing what some people don't know about politics and other subjects. I just hope they don't vote or I'd be worried how they decide on their candidate --by TV commercials?

  25. I agree with Dick....if you asked the same questions in the UK you would probably get a similar response....depressing isn't it!!

    Oh, and for what it's worth....I think your hair looks lovely!!!

    C x

  26. oh wow! that made me snort with laughter! i claim age related memory loss.... "we the peep....?"

  27. I was definitely dismayed when I read this article. Bah.

  28. I wonder if there was ever a time when the majority of people knew these things. Either way, it's still depressing.

  29. Lovely clip. not sen that before. I love Don Knox though.

    I have to say, I'm not surprised about the test flunking. It would be the same in the UK for the most part.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)