Daddy DUH

A new poll released Wednesday by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found many Americans don’t know how the government works.

The poll showed only 36% of Americans could name all three branches of the government and 35% couldn’t name any of them. It also found over 60% of Americans don’t know which political party controls the House of Representatives and the US Senate.

In a statement accompanying the poll, Annenberg Public Policy Center Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson argued it proves the need for better educational programs.

“Although surveys reflect disapproval of the way Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court are conducting their affairs, the Annenberg survey demonstrates that many know surprisingly little about these branches of government,” Hall Jamieson said. “This survey offers dramatic evidence of the need for more and better civics education.”

Additionally, the poll showed many people do not know basic facts about how the US government functions. It found that over 70% of Americans don’t know a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate is required to override a presidential veto and that 21% of people think a 5-4 Supreme Court decision is sent back to Congress for a final decision.

Tears are allowed.

Thanks to Mike for stoking my cynicism.

  1. spsffan says:

    Ah, yes, the three branches of government. The crooks, the thieves and the philanderers.

  2. Yawn says:

    What? No mention of the “fourth” (unofficial) branch?



    • Tim says:

      Do you mean the ‘fourth estate’ aka ‘the media’?? Then that would be as jdmurray hinted at above… Since that mainstream 4’th is now government sponsored\controlled then it is ‘advertising’. —

      “This bullshit has been brought to you by {some perceived underdog of necessary social engineering and your tax dollars; You know, so you will eat less, walk more, buy more worthless carseats so you can’t afford to drive in the first place, be locked down by the threat of checkpoints to *check* seatbelt and happiness status so that you’ll not use so much gas and have more money left to give us for these ads in the first place} and the Ad (ps, we play it loud because it is the most important thing you will ever hear) Council.”

      The *real* fourth estate will be liscensed/regulated {assassinated} soon enough, I suspect.

  3. Pure and Simple says:

    How does government work?

    It doesn’t.

    Bonus question… Why?

    • spsffan says:

      Because democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch?

      • Benjamin Franklin {possibly misattributed} says:

        … And liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting that vote.

  4. tdkyo says:

    I actually looked up the survey and found the methodology QUITE PROBLEMATIC. This was done via phone survey which included landlines and CELLPHONES. Ladies and gents, how many of you would instantly decline/hangup a survey from someone if the call came via your CELLPHONE? (717 of respondents were via cell phone)

    This is a sample of people who were dumb/had preference for answering a phone survey. Most smart people I know would hang up and not participate on the survey. This survey is extremely questionable, and if you actually look at their website, the survey’s “SHOCKING” result is actually a cover to promote their other website.

    I guess SEO is dead to get more traffic these days. Now, publishing a faulty survey with a controversial result might beat Google Ad words to get people to your website!

  5. MikeN says:

    Well Obama thinks it works as if Congress doesn’t do what he wants he should do it by executive order. Mark Perkel agrees, and thinks it is treason to act against the President’s wishes.

    • jpfitz says:

      Really. O is the only prez to use his executive order power. Do some research into which of our fine supreme leaders signed executive orders the most. I’m not defending O but, come on, facts matter.

      • MikeN says:

        It’s not the number of executive orders that matter, but the type.

        An executive order that you are going to ignore the immigration laws and just not deport anyone because Congress hasn’t passed your preferred amnesty plan, is not how its taught in civics class.

        • P P says:

          I’m guessing you never actually read the CONSTITUTION! (Some people might like to call it ‘the law’.)

          Article I, Section 8 states: “The Congress shall have power to… establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization…” You might notice that it’s NOT the President!

          Quite simply, the Presidents job is to ENFORCE laws — NOT MAKE THEM!!!

          • jdmurray says:

            US presidents enforce laws through the use of executive orders, which are not laws, but are subject to judicial review. EOs have powers that can be indistinguishable from law can also be overruled by SCOTUS. Have any of Obama’s 147 (and counting) EO’s been overruled? If not, why not?

        • Greg Allen says:

          >> An executive order that you are going to ignore the immigration laws

          What a load of carp. Obama has deported MORE people than Bush ever did.

  6. jpfitz says:

    Governor Perry of Texas would disappoint.

  7. Benjamin says:

    Maybe we should test people before they vote.

  8. Egon Ruuda says:

    So that is why people think government subsidies work…. I officially give up, people are just too stupid.

    • P P says:

      Unless I’m mistaken, I assume you are one of the “people”.

      … So maybe you’re RIGHT!

      • jpfitz says:

        Now I see you for what you really are. Egon made a fine statement, no reason for your disrespect.

        Go TROLL elsewhere P P.

    • jpfitz says:

      Here are some of the most egregious subsidies.

      “$2.4 Billion: subsidies to the Big Five producers debated and defeated in the Senate in 2011 and 2012

      The Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, sponsored by Senator Menendez (D-NJ) was debated and defeated by the Senate for two years running, and would have eliminated $2.4 billion in annual tax deductions for the five major oil companies: BP, Exxon, Chevron, Shell and ConocoPhillips.”

      “$18.5 billion: Oil Change International 2014 estimate: federal expolration and production subsidies. Since President Obama took office in 2009, federal fossil fuel production and exploration subsidies have grown in value by 45 percent, from $12.7 billion to a current total of $18.5 billion. This rise is mostly due to increased oil and gas production: the value of tax breaks and other incentives has increased along with greater production and profits, essentially rewarding companies for accelerating climate change.

      $21.6 billion: Adding in the states we have data for, the United States as a whole provided $21.6 billion in production and exploration subsidies to the oil, gas, and coal industries in 2013.

      $32.8 billion: Adding in consumption subsidies at the Federal and State levels which are on the order of $11 billion a year. Thus the total annual value of all known U.S. state and federal fossil fuel exploration, production, and consumption subsidies is $32.8 billion.

      $37.5 billion: U.S. financing of fossil fuel projects overseas increased by 14 percent from $4.1 billion in 2009 to $4.7 billion in 2013, driven by an increase in bilateral oil and gas project lending. This brings the U.S. fossil fuel subsidy total for consumption, production, exploration, and international finance to a staggering $37.5 billion annually.

      $52 billion. Highest credible comprehensive estimate (pre All of the Above energy). Includes some costs associated with defending pipelines and shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf. Earth Track, an NGO that specializes in subsidy valuation, estimates that annual oil, gas and coal subsidies total about $52 billion annually.”

      I’m sure some of you here will be just fine giving money to the richest dirtiest companies in the world.
      Oil, black gold.

      • MikeN says:

        Reading through that report, it looks like it is almost entirely general tax credits available to all tax companies, which this report twisted to look like special tax breaks for oil companies. All companies deduct labor costs, get deductions for manufacturing equipment expenses, etc. Heck, my tax return shows a claim for one of those subsidies claimed on that report as the oil and gas industry. Maybe I should go buy a 10 gallon hat.

        Reduced royalty payments is an issue that goes to all mining companies as well, and is not a subsidy for oil companies. I first heard about it with regards to Barrick taking $10 billion in gold and paying the federal government $100.

        Funny that they include a carbon sequestration credit.

  9. JudgeHooker says:

    Perhaps this says something of the education system – perhaps it doesn’t. I think it has more to do with the attention span of the average citizen. All this could be covered with a pamphlet.

  10. Paul says:

    Don’t think it would be any better in the UK. Interestingly I think the last election in the US had a turnout of about 57% does this mean that 19% don’t know why?

  11. rob the idiot says:

    The only thing the Republicans and Democrats agree on is to take another vacation. Lets put a for sale sign on congress!

  12. You Lie! Obama, his pen and his phone are all three branches of Government says:

    And of those who did know, few realized gridlock is what the founding fathers wanted, to slow down Government growth and its affect on personal liberty.

    • spsffan says:

      No. They didn’t want gridlock. There’s a difference between making things difficult and making things impossible.

      The founding fathers wanted to make it DIFFICULT to grow government and its affect on personal liberty.*

      Gridlock, as we have had it these last few years, makes it IMPOSSIBLE to do much of anything, while making us a laughing stock.

      *Not that it worked particularly well, even from the start. The Alien and Sedition acts managed to fly through Congress PDQ.

  13. NewFormatSux says:

    Obama declared that he can decide when the Senate is in session and make recess appointments even when the Senate is in session by declaring that they are in recess. This egregious behavior, opposed by not a single elected Democrat, was rejected 9-0 at the Supreme Court. Even Obama’s own liberal apparatchik appointees to the court couldn’t support his ignorance of basic civics.

    • Greg Allen says:

      >>Obama declared that he can decide when the Senate is in session

      Oh, Goodness.

      Obama never declared any such thing.

  14. Greg Allen says:

    For example:

    Why doesn’t Obama balance the budget?!?!?

    • Greg Allen says:

      Hint to conservatives: The executive branch doesn’t pass the budget.

  15. Tim says:

    John Cleese on really Dee people { Dumming-Freddy Krueger effect}


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