Pew Study Reveals Hows Well Americans Follow Current Events

Pew Research Center's most recent News IQ survey explores how knowledgeable Americans are regarding current events. The 19-question survey ranged from identifying country maps to recognizing prominent US government officials such as the Secretary of State and Speaker of the House of Representatives. (To test yourself against the results Pew found before reading the summary, follow this link.)



Respondents correctly answered visual questions more often than verbal questions, and scored particularly well when asked to identify prominent political figures. 82% of respondents correctly identified US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 79% recognized former Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, and 70% recognized Charmain of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke.


Respondents performed worst when asked to name the British Prime Minister (only 38% correctly chose David Cameron) and when asked to identify the universal symbol of Islam (42%).

Unlike previous surveys, respondents performed significantly differently depending on partisan affiliation. Pew reports: "On 13 out of the 19 questions, Republicans score significantly higher than Democrats and there are no questions on which Democrats did better than Republicans." Republicans were understandably more able to identify that the Republican Party has a majority in the House of Representatives (59% to Democrat's 40%) and that the elephant is a symbol of the GOP (87% to 69%). Republicans were 17 points more likely to identify Greece's debt troubles and 16 points more likely to identify Israel on a map of the Mideast.

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