Monday, August 9, 2010

Knowing the Court

Here's an interesting article that relies on the Pew News IQ quiz I wrote about a few weeks ago to make, I think, a very good point.  The lede:
Now that Elena Kagan has been confirmed as Justice of the Supreme Court following several weeks of highly publicized hearings, the public remains poorly informed about the Court’s role. And even what is supposedly known is contradictory. Pew Research Center’s latest New IQ Quiz, which was conducted in early July, revealed that “an overwhelming proportion of Americans are familiar with Twitter ... yet the public continues to struggle in identifying political figures, foreign leaders and even knowing facts about key government policies.”
I should point out that the public's knowledge of the Court is somewhat controversial due to some mismeasurement issues in the American National Election Studies, discovered by some scholars researching what people know about the court.  It all has to do with coding of incorrect responses, something ANES quickly addressed.  I have no idea how the Pew data stacks up on this issue, but it comes down to partial answers that, honestly, are close enough and yet are scores as incorrect.  Here's a nice discussion for the methodologically oriented.

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