Sunday, June 24, 2007

Poll: Americans Still Misinformed/Uninformed

The results of Newsweek's first "What you need to know" poll which tested Americans on a variety of topics, including politics, foreign affairs, and popular culture, yield some pretty disheartening results.

Even today, more than four years into the war in Iraq, as many as four in ten Americans (41 percent) still believe Saddam Hussein’s regime was directly involved in financing, planning or carrying out the terrorist attacks on 9/11, even though no evidence has surfaced to support a connection. A majority of Americans were similarly unable to pick Saudi Arabia in a multiple-choice question about the country where most of the 9/11 hijackers were born. Just 43 percent got it right—and a full 20 percent thought most came from Iraq.
On the up side of that, 70 percent are aware that the United States has not discovered any hidden weapons of mass destruction in Iraq since the war began, 85 percent are aware that Osama bin Laden remains at large, and 52 percent think that the United States is losing the fight against Al Qaeda.

Unsurprisingly, the poll found people unable to name the Supreme Court's chief justice and other U.S. officials and world leaders (though in good news for Democrats, 59 percent could identify Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker in a multiple-choice question), only 42 percent of the public was aware that Iraq only existed as an independent nation since 1920 (15 percent think Iraq existed as a country before and nearly half refrained from even guessing), and most knew little geographical or cultural facts (which is a little more surprising).

Sad, but did anyone really expect it to be any different with our mainstream media and people's general incuriousness about the world around them?

2 comments:

Xanthippas said...

It's those authoritarians again!

Or, I suppose it could just be idiots, who appear to come from all political backgrounds.

Nat-Wu said...

Here's a real challenge: try to say Mahmoud Ahmadinejad three times fast.