Political Knowledge

 MN: Obama in LaCrosse - IUPAT

It’s really not that easy to figure out exactly what people know regarding politics in theUnited Statesand around the world. If I were to take a wild guess though, I would say that people don’t know as much as they would like to think they do.  

Twice a year, The Pew Research Center conducts a quiz of the public’s knowledge of political news (click here to take the quiz yourself). After completing the quiz, you can view the results of how you did, along with the results of other people who have taken the quiz (or if you want to be a cheater, you can skip straight to the results, but I do not recommend that you do that).

The newest quiz that thePewResearchCenterhas published features 11 questions that test participant’s knowledge of important people and significant current events that people should know something about.

I took the quiz myself, and was happy with my results after answering 10 of the 11 questions correctly. I missed the question aboutWisconsin(let’s be honest here though, when is the last time you can recall reading a news article aboutWisconsinthat didn’t involve cows?).  

My results put me with 7 percent of other test takers who had the same score, and meant that I did better on the quiz then 91 percent of the rest of the people who took the quiz. Only 2 percent of test takers scored a perfect 100 percent – yes, you read that right, only 2 percent.

ThePewResearchCenterwas also nice enough to publish the results of the quiz based off of the demographics of the people who took the quiz. These results showed that men were more likely to answer a question right than women were (come on ladies!), and college graduates were did better on the quiz than those who have not graduated college.

The results also showed that people who fell into the 50+ age group tended to do better than those who fell into the 30-49 age group and the 18-29 age group. I will point out, however, that those results are slightly deceiving though. The 18-29 age group is a lot smaller than the 30-49 and 50+ age groups. But nonetheless, it’s not a real big secret that people who fall into the 18-29 age group don’t know a lot about what’s going on in the world and theU.S.

I became a little disappointed in myself when I saw that 68 percent of men and 58 percent of women knew the answer to the Wisconsin question (believe it or not, those percentages are pretty high compared to the results of some of the other questions).

It was also a little odd to me that so few people knew who the founder of Facebook is (come on people – they made a movie about it!). However, I’m still trying to figure out what Facebook has to do with politics.

I don’t really think that I need to say this, but it appears that people need to spend a little more time reading the news on a regular basis. Just try it out for a week – I’m sure you’ll start to love it!

-Amy Block

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About mcjblogproject

Amy Block and Aimee Caneva are students in the Mass Communication and Journalism department at California State University, Fresno.
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