Elected officials are not as smart as the general public when it comes to civic literacy.
So says a survey of 2,508 Americans, including 164 people who said they have held an elected office at least once in their life, by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).
The politicians were less likely to correctly answer 29 of 33 questions on ISI’s basic civic literacy exam.
Among the elected officeholders, 40% were Democrat, 31% were Republican, 21% were Independent, and 8% said they belonged to no political party or indicated no such affiliation.
The biggest gaps occurred on three major questions about American history and American government – a question involving the source of the 1962 tension between the U.S and the Communistic Soviet Union, a request to name the three inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence, and a question about the basic definition of the free enterprise system.
Less than 50% of the politicians could name the three branches of government – the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial branch!
Also, 89.29% failed to understand the difference between a free market capitalist system and a socialist system of centralized planning.
No wonder so many Americans are fed up with the quality of America’s politicians and political candidates!!!
– Source: “Our Fading Heritage,” Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 11/20/08.