ignorance

If there is truth in Ben Franklin’s precept that “tyranny begins” with “ignorance,” a poll commissioned by Just Facts shows that the U.S. may be in deep trouble.

While most polls measure public opinion, this unique poll measures voters’ knowledge of issues that affect their lives in tangible ways. These include education, taxes, healthcare, the national debt, pollution, government spending, Social Security, global warming, energy, and hunger.

This national scientific poll surveyed 700 people who vote “every time there is an opportunity” or in “most” elections. In other words, these are voters who regularly exercise their constitutional right to choose the politicians who govern them.

Results for All Voters

For each question, voters were offered a selection of two or more answers, one of which was true. Voters were also given the opportunity to reply “I don’t know.”

On average, voters gave the correct answer 35% of the time, gave an incorrect answer 52% of the time, replied “I don’t know” 12% of the time, and refused to answer 1% of the time. These poor results indicate that many voters may be casting ballots based on warped notions of reality.

A majority of voters gave the correct answer to only four of the 23 questions.

The highest levels of ignorance were found on questions related to child hunger, tax burdens, health insurance copayments, landfills, and Social Security finances. In these cases, less than 25% of voters provided the correct answer, and in one case, only 6% of voters did.

Read more at The Stream.

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