SURVEY: Voters of All Parties, Ages, and Genders are Broadly Misinformed

Republicans only slightly less ignorant than Democrats…

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(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) America’s founding fathers knew that an informed populace wouldn’t be a threat against a government by and for the people, rather it would serve as a guard against government tyranny.

In the words of James Madison, the father of the Constitution and author of the Bill of Rights, voters “must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives,” or else uninformed voters will produce a government that is “a farce or tragedy; or, perhaps both.”

Heading towards midterm election day, Madison’s 18th century wisdom appears beyond what modern information-age America can muster — unless 40 percent counts as a passing grade.

A new scientific survey commissioned by the nonprofit research institute Just Facts, shows that voters of all ages, political parties, and genders are not only uninformed about major issues, “they are positively misinformed.”

While most national polls measure public opinion, the Just Facts survey measured voters’ knowledge about major issues, such as education, taxes and health care.

The results seem to point to a political dark age.

“On average, voters gave the correct answer 40 percent of the time, gave an incorrect answer 53 percent of the time, and said they were unsure 7 percent of the time. A majority of voters gave the correct answer to only six of the 24 questions,” according to James D. Agresti, president and co-founder of Just Facts.

Each survey question offered at least two answers to choose from, and the option to select unsure.

“The highest levels of misinformation were found on questions related to child hunger, tax burdens, landfills, health insurance copayments, and Social Security finances. For these questions, 25 percent or less of voters provided the correct answer,” Agresti found.

On child hunger, only 14 percent of respondent voters — including only 5 percent of respondent Democrats — knew that less than one percent of U.S. households with children have a child who experiences hunger. According to the USDA, the correct answer is only 0.14 percent of households with children.

The survey also included a question about rape, one of the most newsworthy topics in 2018.

“What portion of adult females living in the U.S. say that they have been the victim of an act that fits the legal definition of rape? Less than 1 percent, 1 percent to 5 percent, or more than 5 percent?” the survey asked.

The correct answer was more than 5 percent. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 11.5 percent of adult females say they have been the victim of acts that legally constitute forcible rape. Fifty-six percent of respondent voters guessed correctly, although Democrats were much more often correct than Republicans, 78-33. Interestingly, only 61 percent of females answered correctly.

When it came to Obamacare, three-in-four Republicans knew the facts. When asked whether Obamacare would worsen Medicare patients’ access to care, 75 percent of Republicans knew that it would. Only 17 percent of Democrats guessed correctly.

Republicans also were keenly aware that the federal government spends much more on health care than Democrats. When asked if the government pays more than the 24 percent of all healthcare costs as it did in 1960, nearly 70 percent of Republicans correctly said yes, as opposed to only 43 percent of Democrats. In 2016, the government paid almost half of all healthcare costs.

In total, the rates at which voters gave the correct answers varied:

  • 47% for Republican voters
  • 43% for males
  • 42% for 35 to 64 year olds
  • 41% for 18 to 34 year olds
  • 38% for 65+ year olds
  • 38% for third-party voters
  • 37% for females
  • 34% for Democrat voters