Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 8:41 AM

Polls Show Americans Are Too Stupid to Poll on Any Critical Issue

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

I’ve been lamenting prevailing ignorance among Americans for years — as my commentary “On Syria (and almost Every Other Issue) the American People Are Insolent, Ignorant Idiots,” September 10, 2013, attests.

Their ignorance is such, in fact, that polling them on political issues is like polling athletes on medical ones. Only this clearly explains the phenomenon of Donald Trump – who is nothing more than a narcissistic huckster exploiting the P.T. Barnum maxim about fecund suckers.

This is why I could have predicted the findings of “A Survey on Global Literacy,” which the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and National Geographic commissioned. They set out to determine “What College-Aged Students Know About the World” and copublished their findings in the September 2016 issue of the CFR newsletter.


Here is the “shocking” highlight:

Respondents exhibited limited knowledge of issues critical to the United States. Only 28 percent of respondents knew that the United States is bound by treaty to protect Japan if it is attacked; just 34 percent knew this about South Korea.

Meanwhile, only 30 percent knew that the constitutional authority to declare war rests in the legislative branch of the U.S. government.

Mind you, with all due respect to the CFR and National Geographic, Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking” surveys found long ago that far too many college students can’t even name the three branches of government, or recognize the vice president of the United States.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-8-55-40-amBut my dismay in this respect was never more acute than in the years following America’s 2003 invasion of  Iraq. Because polls routinely showed, on the one hand, that Americans were gung-ho in their support, while on the other hand, that most of them could not even locate Iraq on a map.

Not to mention that they were brazenly clueless about the irresolvable conflict between Sunnis and Shias for the soul of Islam, which made invading Iraq a patent march of folly.

In any event, I welcome the authoritative light the CFR and National Geographic are now shedding on this national disgrace. More to the point, I urge you to bear their findings in mind the next time you hear politicians invoking the will of the American people, or pundits citing opinion polls to advance their arguments.

For the record, I took the 10-question survey, and scored 100 percent. Go to to test your (basic) knowledge … if you dare.

Related commentaries:
On Syria
Ignore the polls

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