Friday, April 27, 2007

Political Knowledge. How Do You Rank?

Earlier this week, I posted a tongue-in-cheek article about certain people's ignorance about global warming. Given the results of this year's Political Knowledge Survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, that article should not have surprised anyone.

Pew has been using this survey to evaluate the political savvy of the American population for almost twenty years now. Questions include such doozies as "Can you name the current vice president?"

The results?....not good.

Despite the proliferation of news media and internet access, the average American is less likely to be able to name the VP, their state's governor or the President of Russia than they were in 1989 - by 5%, 8% and 11% respectively.

Other key info includes a breakdown of the educational value of different news sources. If you watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Colbert Report or read major newspaper websites, you probably know what you're talking about. If you like Fox News, or your various local/morning news shows, you'd be better served by turning off the tube and having a political discussion with your morning bagel.

On a positive note, this has given me an idea for a new anti-troll policy. Anyone wanting to post comments would first need to reach a minimum score on this survey. U.S. readers would be required to score above 50% to comment on global warming and other environmental political issues. Given that the survey is strictly American in subject matter, Canadian readers would only need to score 55%.

You can try your hand at the survey here.

1 comment:

Brian Hayes said...

The Pew Quiz is a tad brutal.

There are only a few questions so an incorrect answer bashes the score way down. I missed one because I couldn't make myself believe Congress would bother to lift the minimum wage.

Canadians, Brits, South Africans, Taiwanese, Filipinos, Cubans - most pay attention to their world more than Americans. This seems true since pop culture emerged as the dominant play.

Oddly enough, as I look across our times, I cannot always bash America. These days are confused and arrogant, but there is something hopeful, if only provocative, in the will of her people.

American people do not 'intend' to horrify the world, I don't think. Most shrink when they discover their poor standing in the world. Most truly seek a cooperative and humane globe.

One day soon perhaps we'll insist upon making certain our goodwill is carried out. What a day!