Public Uninformed About Politics, But Well Aware of Their Own Situation

Pew Research is out with a new poll demonstrating how politically uninformed and/or disinterested the general public is. The study found that slightly less than half of the adults living in this country could correctly identify that, in this last election, Republicans took control of the House but not the Senate.

When the new Congress convenes in January, will Republicans have a majority in… [READ IN ORDER]

46 – The House of Representatives (Correct)
8  – The Senate
14 –  Both the House and Senate
5  – Neither the House nor the Senate
27 – Don’t know/Refused (VOL.)

In addition, the poll found that only 38 percent of adults could identify John Boehner as the incoming speaker of the House. Not surprisingly, young adults were the least politically aware, while people over 65 were the most knowledgeable.

While it is personally disappointing that more Americans aren’t interested in politics, that is the reality, and political strategy should be designed accordingly.

Americans don’t know about or care about games that dominate Washington

This demonstrates why elections are decided by results and the general state of the economy. They are not decided by clever platforms, arguments about Senate procedure, and CBO scores.

If you keep in mind how little the general public actually pays attention to the actions of Congress, it makes it clear how truly foolish the behavior of Democrats was the past two years, and how effective Mitch McConnell’s strategy was.

Democrats wasted months trying to get a really good CBO score for their health care reform, yet I suspect most voters can’t even tell you what the CBO is. Even after all the Dems’ work, a large plurality of voters incorrectly believe the CBO said the new heath care law would increase the deficit.

Instead of eliminating the filibuster so Senate Democrats could pass legislation to improve the economy, they decide to spend months trying to make an issue out of the evils of Republican obstructionism. Again, regular Americans don’t actually know how the filibuster works, so this argument was destined to fail. All most Americans really saw was that the Democrats controlled everything, but delivered nothing in terms of improvements to their lives.

This is just a reminder that despite the political squabbling that seems so all-consuming to inside Washington, these issues go completely unnoticed by a huge segment of the country. Most of the public only notices deliverable results.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at