Despite universal suffrage, many Americans appear to know almost nothing about the way the American government works.
According to a poll by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, conducted from Aug. 9-13, only 26 percent of Americans could name the three branches of the American government.
If that’s not scary enough, another 27 percent could name only a single branch.
A whopping 33 percent did not know any of the branches of government. (For those who clearly need a refresher in basic U.S. history, or elementary school civics, the three branches of government are the executive branch, the judicial branch, and the legislative branch.)
The Annenberg Public Policy Center notes that in 2011, when the question was first asked, 38 percent of those polled could name all three branches of government.
The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s analysis also reveals that those who identified as conservatives were “significantly more likely” to know all of the three branches of government.
On top of that, only 37 percent of those polled could not name a single one of the rights protected by the First Amendment when unprompted. Nearly half (48 percent) could correctly answer that freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment, but only 15 percent knew freedom of religion was is protected by the First Amendment.
Only 14 percent said the First Amendment protects freedom of press, 10 percent knew it protects the right to assembly, and a mere 3 percent knew it protects the right to petition the government.
Remember: these people have a vote that equals the weight of yours.
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