++Addition++See Steve's insights on the Pew results.
Expanding beyond the News IQ quizzes it periodically conducts, Pew Research recently released the results of what the organization calls the Political News IQ Quiz, which you can take here. I answered them all correctly, as I suspect the majority of readers of this blog and others like it will also do. Yet only 8% of the population fared as well, a reminder that the overwhelming majority of the American public is unaware of the basic layout of the political landscape, let alone plugged into the minutiae of committee memberships, legislative action, or how relevant Lochner v. New York is in the Supreme Court's consideration of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
Some points of interest from the results:
- Men fared better than women on every single question asked. Ho-hum, that's always the case when it comes to current events more distant than the dinner table or, at most, the local city council meeting. As has become its custom, Pew did not publish these results in the body of the actual report, but they can be accessed by users who finish the abbreviated online version of the quiz. Pew's acts of commission are honest and laudable. Acts of omission, on the other hand--well, Pew's still better than most, so I guess we have to take what we can get.
- On most items, age and political knowledge increase together. There are a few exceptions, though. Those aged 18-29 were more aware than older cohorts that the Democratic party is more favorably inclined towards spending cuts on defense, allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens, and expanding the privileges of homosexuals. These (especially the latter two--the first is more of a reflexive and rhetorically effective reaction to conservative calls for spending cuts) presage the direction the Democratic party will take in the future, away from concerns like punitive taxation of high income earners and creating laws favorable to labor organizations that the contemporary left doesn't care that much about, and will care even less about going forward.
- As Republicans have higher average IQs than Democrats do, and Democrats have higher average IQs than independents do, it isn't surprising that Republicans fared best, answering an average of 12.6 of the 17 full length quiz questions correctly. Democrats followed, with 11.4 correct. Independents took up the rear at 10.7 correctly answered questions. To SWPLs' eternal frustration, failing to break out results by race means that assessments by party affiliation are always going to make Republicans, members of the nation's de facto white party, look better than they do.