Politics Magazine

Over 1/3 Of Americans Ignorant Of Federal Government

Posted on the 16 September 2014 by Jobsanger
Over 1/3 Of Americans Ignorant Of Federal Government
Over 1/3 Of Americans Ignorant Of Federal Government
The two charts above show a shameful aspect of our democracy -- the ignorance of a large segment of the United States population. Note that only 63% of the public knows that the Republicans control the House of Representatives, and an equal percentage knows that the Democrats control the Senate. That means significantly more than one-third of the population (37%) did NOT know which parties controlled those legislative bodies. That's nearly one out of four Americans.
I suspect these people don't think it matters in their lives which party is in control (or which politicians get elected), and that is why they don't pay any attention to what is happening in Washington. They are wrong. What those politicians do in Washington affects nearly every aspect of their everyday lives -- from the education they and their children get, to the kind of job and salary they can get, to the amount and quality of healthcare they get, to what they must pay for everything they buy. And we haven't even begun to discuss taxes they must pay, the environment and the cleanliness of the water they drink and the air they breathe, or the kind of society they must live in. Believing that Washington doesn't affect their lives is the ultimate form of denial for these people.
Some of these people will tell you that the two major parties are the same, and it doesn't matter which one wins. That is ludicrous. While it is true that we don't have a viable party in this country that offers left-wing solutions to our problems, the Democrats are even close to being as right-wing extremist as the modern Republican Party. It DOES make a difference which one of these two parties is in power.
Believe it or not though, there is an upside (sad though it is) to this horrible ignorance. I doubt these people are voters. Anyone so ignorant they don't even know who controls the branches of Congress is highly unlikely to have enough interest to vote -- and that is a good thing, since their vote would certainly not be an informed one. This is backed up by the chart below.
While 63% of the public does know which parties control the House and Senate, that is significantly more than the percentage of the voting-age population that bothers to vote. Note that since 1982, the percentage of the population that voted has never been as high as 57%, and in an off-year election (which the 2014 election is) that percentage has never been as high as 40%. Personally, I think in a country that prides itself on being one of the world's leading democracies, that is even more shameful than 37% not knowing who controls Congress.
That means that those of us who will vote in this election will be casting a vote that counts 2 1/2 times as much as it would count if everyone voted. Make sure your vote counts. You and the other 38% or 39% will be determining what kind of country 100% of the population will live in for the next few years. Vote for politicians that will move this country forward -- not those who will obstruct everything introduced just because they don't like the color of our president's skin.
The two charts above were made from information from a recent Rasmussen Poll -- done on September 9th and 10th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a margin of error of 3 points.
Over 1/3 Of Americans Ignorant Of Federal Government (These percentages are from infoplease.com.)

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