If you ever wondered why America is in the shape it’s in, a new poll from Rasmussen Reports should shed some valuable light on the problem. According to their September 2014 telephone poll, only 63% of likely U.S. voters know whether Democrats or Republicans are in control of the House and Senate. For clarification – this isn’t a survey of everyone in the country. It isn’t even a survey of registered voters. It’s a survey of people who will probably be going to the polls in November. And a full third of them don’t have the slightest clue of what’s going on.
The numbers only get worse from there. Women and voters under 40 are even more clueless than the general voting public. Obamacare is one of the issues at the forefront of the political spectrum this year, yet 31% of these likely voters do not know where their congressman stands on the issue. A mere 25% of respondents think their representative member of Congress deserves to be re-elected, though what does that really say when the general level of ignorance is so high? Are they guessing? Are they going by what their co-worker said at the water cooler on Monday?
Our democracy only works when the people are informed and engaged. Today, the American public is more likely to know who they would vote for on The Voice than in the next election. There’s nothing particularly wrong with being entrenched in pop culture, but the winner of The Voice is not going to have an impact on your day-to-day life. He’s not going to have an impact on the direction of the country.
An Ignorant Public
Ignorance among the populace has a direct effect on the well being of the nation. It comes as little surprise to see that Republican voters are more informed than their Democratic and Independent counterparts, but that only accounts for about half the country. And not all Republican voters are that much more informed. This is a sorry state of affairs in a country that was built on a foundation of patriotism, strength, and knowledge.
We’ve seen the devastating effect low-information voters have on our national elections. Would Barack Obama have been able to squeak through to a second victory if an informed populace had been voting in 2012? How could he have? By every possible metric, he has failed in his duties as president. Judging by his second term, there’s no turnaround in sight.
Unfortunately, people are voting based on things that have very little to do with sound American policy. They are voting based on what their favorite celebrities think, what they see on Twitter, and on pet issues like marijuana that really aren’t that important to the good of the country. Campaigns aimed at getting the vote out only serve to draw more of these uninformed idiots out to the polls, ruining one election after another.
What’s to be done? What’s the answer? Do we need a Constitutional Amendment that says you have to pass a basic civics/current events quiz to be permitted to vote? No one wants to start considering plans that curtail freedom – least of all, me – but it’s clear that something’s not working with the system as it is.