Civics Survey: 1 In 5 Americans Can’t Name Single Branch Of U.S. Government

  
Via:  john-russell  •  one month ago  •  33 comments

Civics Survey: 1 In 5 Americans Can’t Name Single Branch Of U.S. Government

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Civics Survey: 1 In 5 Americans Can’t Name Single Branch Of U.S. Government


PHILADELPHIA —   Americans appear to be improving in their basic knowledge of the federal government, an annual survey shows. Yet despite the progress, one in five adults still can’t name even one of the three branches of government.

The annual Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey, a study conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, found good news and bad news when it comes to Americans’ knowledge of how their government functions.

Among the good news: According to the survey, which conducted interviews with 1,104 adults, the American public knows more now about   the Constitution   and the concept of the separation of powers than in the previous five years. The survey found more adults responding correctly to questions about constitutional rights and other civics concepts.

Q2-branches-trendline.png Data from the Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey (2019)

The bad news is that only about 39% of adults can correctly name the three branches of United States government (executive, legislative, and judicial, in case you were wondering). While this is the highest mark in the last five years, it still leaves room for improvement. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed — about 22% — couldn’t name a single governmental branch. Still, that’s markedly better than the   previous two years   when a third of respondents were stumped on the same question.

Meanwhile, 25% of respondents were able to name one branch, and 14% remembered only two.

The survey suggested a link between high school civics or government classes and civics knowledge. Those surveyed who said they took high school civics were more likely to know the answers to six different “knowledge” questions, including naming the branches of government. Those who said they are high consumers of print, television, or   online news   were also more likely to answer civics questions correctly.

“While this marks an improvement, the overall results remain dismal,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center,   statement.  “A quarter of U.S. adults can name only one of the three branches of government and more than a fifth can’t name any. The resilience of our system of government is best protected by an informed citizenry. And civics education and attention to news increase that likelihood.”

Other questions on the survey also resulted in improved scores. About six in ten participants (59%) correctly marked that a 5-4 ruling on a case by the U.S. Supreme Court meant that the decision was the law and must be followed, the highest score for that questions among the seven times it’s been asked since 2007. About six in ten also knew that should the Supreme Court and president disagree on whether an   action by the president   was constitutional, the burden falls on the court to make the final call.

A staggering 83% also knew it was accurate to say that the Supreme Court has held that a citizen has a constitutional right to   own a handgun .

And when asked whether   illegal immigrants   had any rights under the Constitution, 55% correctly noted that they indeed had some rights. On the flip side, 40% answered incorrectly — but researchers note the scores were flipped from 2017, when most people got it wrong.

When it came to control of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, 55% correctly answered that Democrats have majority in the House, while 61% knew Republicans control the senate. A quarter of respondents did not know or were unsure for both questions.

The   survey   will be released for Constitution Day, September 17, by the Annenberg Public Policy Center in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania.

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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

Less than half of Americans (39%) can name all three branches of the U.S. government. 

Thats pitiful. 

When it came to control of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, 55% correctly answered that Democrats have majority in the House, while 61% knew Republicans control the senate. A quarter of respondents did not know or were unsure for both questions.

Another sad truth. Almost half the country is functionally ignorant of the current government.  How can we have a knowledgeable election? 

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
1.1  Dean Moriarty  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago

Yes that's why groups like Move On.org are doing us no favors trying to register as many people as possible to vote. As far as I'm concerned the fewer that vote the better because as Hamilton said the masses are asses. 

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
1.1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Dean Moriarty @1.1    one month ago

Uhhh Department of Progressive Liberal Affairs? Just kidding. I know the Department of Defense. I worked for them for 20 years.

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
1.2  igknorantzrulz  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago

i could only name the Judicial, off the top of my head,

as i had no Civics besides Hondas.

i did realize the other two consisted of the President, and 

Congress/Senate, but Executive and Legislative didn't come to mind, as i did not have normal High School classes.

As i've stated, i'm self uneducated, but i have some thinking skills, though,most are Critical

but i n joy that condition.

our education systems,  R Failing

thus Y, ignorance continues to rule         sad reflection of us

 
 
 
TᵢG
1.3  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago
Less than half of Americans (39%) can name all three branches of the U.S. government. 

I believe that. 

Part of the reason we have incompetent, narcissistic politicians screwing things up in the long-erm for short-term personal/party gains is because our electorate is too apathetic and uninformed.   We continue to elect and reelect these bozos.   Too many people vote on name recognition without clue one of what the politician has done and/or likely will do.   Politicians know that they can get away with all sorts of crap because a) the public often forgets, b) the public is easily distracted and c) the public easily is diffused by political spin.

frustration-2018-Sep26.jpg

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
1.3.1  Transyferous Rex  replied to  TᵢG @1.3    one month ago
Part of the reason we have incompetent, narcissistic politicians screwing things up in the long-erm for short-term personal/party gains is because our electorate is too apathetic and uninformed. 

I don't disagree with you, but even a dog knows to come in out of the rain. I don't think an advanced understanding of our system of government is required, but some common sense and reasonable cynicism might prove more useful on the whole. Take the debate on ARs. Pray tell what impact would there be if there was an all out ban on "black" guns? I offer there would not be any appreciable impact. Annual homicides attributable to all rifles continue to be the lowest of all categories, including hands and feet, and the "assault rifle", despite the media's constant shouting, is still not the weapon of choice in public mass shootings, nor does it account for as many deaths in public mass shootings as handguns. That's even if you attribute all deaths in public shootings to rifles, in every instance the perp carried both rifles and handguns. A more detailed account is needed, but the overall number of public mass shooting deaths attributable to all rifles is somewhere between 49% and 20%. Then you get into the issue of which shootings were carried out with a so called assault rifle. While, 50% of the deaths were absolutely other than by rifle. 

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data/

Granted, Vegas doesn't occur with handguns only. Regardless, the hype is about black guns, red flag laws, common sense legislation, etc. Common sense dictates that the hype is a bunch of BS. According to the crime stats, a total ban on ARs, AKs, etc, may theoretically prevent under 300 homicides a year. I'm betting its a pie in the sky to those believing its not about the second amendment but about "common sense" legislation. 

TiG, didn't mean to dump this, got carried away.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
1.4  Jack_TX  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago
Less than half of Americans (39%) can name all three branches of the U.S. government. 

Dude.  1/4 of Americans believe in astrology.

Some of us are not the brightest bulbs in the box.

 
 
 
gooseisgone
1.5  gooseisgone  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago

Who controls the teachers?

 
 
 
Sparty On
1.5.1  Sparty On  replied to  gooseisgone @1.5    one month ago

A large number of them?

Labor Unions.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
1.5.2  Jack_TX  replied to  gooseisgone @1.5    one month ago
Who controls the teachers?

School administrators...who are judged on dropout rate before anything else.

If your primary metric is just keeping them from dropping out rather than ensuring they actually know something, you will inevitably lower standards to the point where the experience is almost meaningless.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.5.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  Jack_TX @1.5.2    one month ago
Some of us are not the brightest bulbs in the box.

That's why so many schools "teach to the test" instead of actually getting the students to think for themselves

 
 
 
Ender
1.5.4  Ender  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.5.3    one month ago

The sad thing is, that is the way I was taught. We were taught to think and come to conclusions. I don't know when that changed.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.5.5  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ender @1.5.4    one month ago

When the tests became more important

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
1.5.6  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.5.5    one month ago

So true. 

 
 
 
Ender
1.5.7  Ender  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.5.5    one month ago

I was watching a stupid reality show the other day. A woman that went to college could not understand daylight saving time. She actually thought we just lost an hour and the day was shorter. That we actually lost time....

How she ever made it to college....

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.5.8  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ender @1.5.7    one month ago

I try not to judge people who seem clueless because I have my days where you would shake your head at me

 
 
 
Ender
1.5.9  Ender  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.5.8    one month ago

Oh I have my days too.  Haha

I am by no means the smartest person around. It just amazes me though that there are some people I wonder how they get through the day.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.5.10  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ender @1.5.9    one month ago

I work with some of those people

 
 
 
Jack_TX
1.5.11  Jack_TX  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.5.3    one month ago
That's why so many schools "teach to the test" instead of actually getting the students to think for themselves

Frankly, I'm OK with teaching to the test.  Just make the test worth taking.

If one more of my kid's English teachers tried to teach to her feelings I'm not sure what I would have done.  

 
 
 
Jack_TX
1.5.12  Jack_TX  replied to  Ender @1.5.4    one month ago
I don't know when that changed.

It changes when the demographics in a school turn over and too many kids start failing the tests.  For some schools that never happens.  For others, it happened 40 years ago.

 
 
 
XDm9mm
2  XDm9mm    one month ago

One can only hold the educational system (what a joke it really is) of this country at fault.

When it's a 'Johnny' can't fail, and we'll advance him to the next grade because he 'tried' idiotic farce of political correctness run amok, what can one expect?

I'm so thankful my grand-kids are out of the American system, at least for another year.  The International School Bangkok has a stellar reputation and they're doing great.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
2.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  XDm9mm @2    one month ago

My kids were educated in the DODDS school system, i.e. Department of Defense Dependent Schools for several years overseas on military installations. Excellent system with the majority of teachers having minimum master's degrees or a few hours short of PHD's. Civics was in the curriculum from elementary school on up.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
3  Perrie Halpern R.A.    one month ago

It's the state and local schools fault. My kids had civics for 4 semesters and were members of the debate team. This was what our district mandates and I am not sure why all schools don't. 

 
 
 
MUVA
3.1  MUVA  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    one month ago

My two eldest sons had civics for 4 semesters also they were in the International Baccalaureate Program in high school my younger son was in AP classes and they also did 4 semesters here in VA. beach VA   

 
 
 
Sparty On
3.2  Sparty On  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    one month ago

Not sure how our school does it now but i know we ( kids included) had at least one class of Civics and one of Government.    As i recall Civic was Middle School and Government was High school.

The bare minimum IMO.

 
 
 
Ender
3.3  Ender  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    one month ago

We were taught about elections in elementary school. We even had a grade wide mock presidential election. (Ford won in our class)

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
3.3.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ender @3.3    one month ago

We only ever did one and that was in 6th grade. Nixon won

 
 
 
Sparty On
4  Sparty On    one month ago

Wow, that is really a sad state of affairs if accurate.

I really hope it is not.

 
 
 
freepress
5  freepress    one month ago

The glorification of ignorance is what has happened, rather than respect for truth, knowledge and intelligence. We need to stop glorifying opinions over reality, facts, and truth. Anyone and everyone has an opinion, not everyone has the truth and facts to back it up and that is where the media has totally failed us.

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
6  al Jizzerror    one month ago

The three branches of Trump's government:

1. The Executive Branch - The Donald

2. The Propaganda Branch - Fox News

3. The Treasury Branch - Mar a Lago
 
 
 
Sparty On
6.1  Sparty On  replied to  al Jizzerror @6    one month ago

That's okay.  

Obama's branch of government was more crooked than Lombard Street in San Fran.

No good lumber in that branch ......

 
 
 
JBB
6.1.1  JBB  replied to  Sparty On @6.1    one month ago

HARDLY! exactly zero ranking Obama campaign or administration officials have ever been indicted for malfeasance in office. None Zero Nada Zip! So put that in your pipe and smoke it...

 
 
 
Sparty On
6.1.2  Sparty On  replied to  JBB @6.1.1    one month ago

Hilarious .... whats the latest count of his Admin that plead the fifth? 

His Admin was squeaky clean only to useful idiots.

Smoke em if ya got em .....

 
 
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