If you’re under the impression that most American voters have a decent grasp of the issues facing our country, a new survey from Just Facts has some bad news for you. According to the national scientific poll of individuals who head to the ballot box “every time there is an opportunity,” the term “low-information voters” is more apt than you might have imagined. Presented with 23 questions about various issues, the surveyed voters only answered correctly 35% of the time.
“These poor results indicate that many voters may be casting ballots based on warped notions of reality,” said Just Facts in their survey report.
Broken down by age and sex, the results get even more interesting:
- 35-64 year olds answered correctly 37% of the time.
- Men answered correctly 37% of the time.
- Women scored 34%, as did those over the age of 65.
And then, when you break it down by presidential preference, we see why this survey is being ignored by the mainstream media. It turns out that the most informed group of voters are the ones we’ve been told are the most ignorant. That’s right: Supporters of Donald Trump answered correctly 43% of the time. That’s in sharp contrast to the least informed voters – Hillary Clinton’s supporters only got 31% of the questions right.
It’s hard to say how much stock we can really put into the conclusions of the survey, especially when you look at the questions. While based in fact, the questions themselves are somewhat esoteric – the kind of questions you might find on a Trivial Pursuit card. Here are a few examples:
Relative to other nations, how do U.S. fourth graders rank in terms of their reading and math ability? Are they in the bottom 50% or in the top 50%?
(Answer: Top 50%)
What portion of 17- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. are unqualified for military service because of weak educational skills, poor physical fitness, illegal drug usage, medical conditions, or criminal records? More or less than half?
(Answer: More than half)
Do you think the number and intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms have generally increased over the past 30 years?
It’s not easy to draw a direct line of relevance from these questions to the 2016 election, to be honest. The math skills of 4th graders, the physical fitness of 24-year-olds, and the frequency of hurricanes are not exactly the topics swirling around the minds of most Americans. When you read through the list, the company’s “warped notions of reality” remark seems a little unfair.
On the other hand, the results do vaguely match what most of us instinctually realize, which is that Democrats rely heavily on a voting population that casts their ballots based on feelings rather than facts.
But the results of the 2012 election proved that better than any survey possibly could.