The Myth of the Rational Elected Official
Hail Mark Steckbeck, for sending me such content:
US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their
civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group
that organized the exam said Thursday.
Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).
Here’s one detail:
Asked about the electoral college, 20 percent of elected officials incorrectly said it was established to "supervise the first televised presidential debates."
Here is the clincher:
The question that received the fewest correct responses, just 16
percent, tested respondents’ basic understanding of economic
principles, asking why "free markets typically secure more economic
prosperity than government’s centralized planning?"
This one is a little tricky:
Forty percent of respondents, meanwhile, incorrectly believed that the US president has the power to declare war, while 54 percent correctly answered that that power rests with Congress.
I’m not sure if those last few numbers are for the officials or for everyone, though it doesn’t much seem to matter. The quiz itself is here. Here is more on the results for the non-officials.