Monday, December 6, 2010

Latest Pew Quiz of What People Know

As always, the fine folks at Pew come through with a news quiz report that saves the day, blog-wise, when it's time for me to post something.  See the graphic below, and discussion that follows.

I often find it more interesting and illuminating to look at what people don't know.  Take the final question.  Only 14 percent could correctly identify the inflation rate.  The choices were 1, 5, 10, or 20 percent, which makes it rather obvious.  Either people don't understand inflation, or they overestimate it in difficult economic times.
Also interesting is less than half of respondents knew what party would be in control of the House of Representatives -- despite a million stories both predicting this and detailing what it all means after the election.  This tells us a large chunk of American is tuned out of the partisan politics of our time.  Which also explains why Republicans tend to do better in low-turnout elections and Democrats tend to do better in high-turnout elections.

The age breakdown is fun.  Young people do lousy when it comes to questions about politics, but by god they know Android is Google's operating system.  The other demographic breakdowns look a lot like many others we've seen.  Men score higher than women, whites scores higher than blacks, older respondents score higher than younger respondents, better educated outperform the less educated, and Republicans slightly outscore Democrats -- though on the last one, if you control for education, that difference would probably disappear.  In other words, no real surprises here.

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