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YAMT: Pew finds that "Public Knowledge of Current Affairs Little Changed..."

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YAMT: Pew finds that "Public Knowledge of Current Affairs Little Changed..."

Old 04-17-07, 10:23 AM
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YAMT: Pew finds that "Public Knowledge of Current Affairs Little Changed..."

The article is here:

http://people-press.org/reports/disp...3?ReportID=319

<b>Public Knowledge of Current Affairs Little Changed by News and Information Revolutions</b>
What Americans Know: 1989-2007

Released: April 15, 2007

<b>Summary of Findings</b>

Since the late 1980s, the emergence of 24-hour cable news as a dominant news source and the explosive growth of the internet have led to major changes in the American public's news habits. But a new nationwide survey finds that the coaxial and digital revolutions and attendant changes in news audience behaviors have had little impact on how much Americans know about national and international affairs.

On average, today's citizens are about as able to name their leaders, and are about as aware of major news events, as was the public nearly 20 years ago. The new survey includes nine questions that are either identical or roughly comparable to questions asked in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 2007, somewhat fewer were able to name their governor, the vice president, and the president of Russia, but more respondents than in the earlier era gave correct answers to questions pertaining to national politics.

In 1989, for example, 74% could come up with Dan Quayle's name when asked who the vice president is. Today, somewhat fewer (69%) are able to recall Dick Cheney. However, more Americans now know that the chief justice of the Supreme Court is generally considered a conservative and that Democrats control Congress than knew these things in 1989. Some of the largest knowledge differences between the two time periods may reflect differences in the amount of press coverage of a particular issue or public figure at the time the surveys were taken. But taken as a whole the findings suggest little change in overall levels of public knowledge.

The survey provides further evidence that changing news formats are not having a great deal of impact on how much the public knows about national and international affairs. The polling does find the expected correlation between how much citizens know and how avidly they watch, read, or listen to news reports. The most knowledgeable third of the public is four times more likely than the least knowledgeable third to say they enjoy keeping up with the news "a lot."

There are substantial differences in the knowledge levels of the audiences for different news outlets. However, there is no clear connection between news formats and what audiences know. Well-informed audiences come from cable (Daily Show/Colbert Report, O'Reilly Factor), the internet (especially major newspaper websites), broadcast TV (NewsHour with Jim Lehrer) and radio (NPR, Rush Limbaugh's program). The less informed audiences also frequent a mix of formats: broadcast television (network morning news shows, local news), cable (Fox News Channel), and the internet (online blogs where people discuss news events).

Aside from news media use, demographic characteristics, especially education, continue to be strongly associated with how much Americans know about the larger world. However, despite the fact that education levels have risen dramatically over the past 20 years, public knowledge has not increased accordingly.

These are the principal findings of an in-depth Pew Research Center survey that interviewed a representative national sample of 1,502 adults between Feb.1-13, 2007. Respondents were asked to identify public figures who had recently been in the news. They also were asked questions that measured how much they knew about important and widely covered news events. Awareness of public figures varied widely.

More than nine-in-ten Americans (93%) could identify Arnold Schwarzenegger as the California governor or a former action-movie star - both responses were counted as correct in the scoring. An equally large proportion of the public identified Hillary Clinton as a U.S. senator, a former first lady, a Democratic leader, or a candidate for president. Clear majorities can also correctly identify Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (65%) and Sen. Barack Obama (61%). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is recognized by about half of the public (49%).

Other prominent national figures and world leaders are not as well known. When asked to name the president of Russia, just 36% recalled Vladimir Putin. Only about three-in-ten (29%) could correctly identify former White House aide Scooter Libby; the survey was conducted during Libby's trial - but before his conviction - on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

Public knowledge of news events also varies widely. Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) knew that as part of his revised Iraq strategy, President Bush planned to increase U.S. military forces in the country. But only one-in-four Americans (24%) are aware that both houses of Congress passed legislation to increase the minimum wage and 34% knew that Congress voted to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.

Distinct patterns emerge when these results are analyzed by key demographic groups. Education proves to be the single best predictor of knowledge. Holding all other factors equal, levels of knowledge rise with each additional year of formal schooling. At the extremes, these educational differences are dramatic: People with postgraduate degrees answer, on average, about 17 of the 23 questions correctly, while those who did not finish high school average only about eight correct answers.

Other demographic differences are also striking. Men, on average, knew more than women, all other factors being equal. Older Americans - particularly those 50 years old or older - did better than younger people. Whites scored better than blacks, while more affluent Americans knew more than those with lower household incomes.

As part of the Pew Knowledge Project, people are invited to test their own news IQ by taking an interactive knowledge quiz now available on the Pew Research Center website. The short quiz includes versions of the some of the same questions that were included in the national poll. Participants will instantly learn how they did on the quiz in comparison with the general public as well as with people like them.
The quiz is here:

http://pewresearch.org/newsiq/

Oh and:

Thank you for taking our News IQ quiz. You correctly answered 9 of the 9 possible questions along with approximately 4% of the public. You did better than 96% of the general public.
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Old 04-17-07, 10:43 AM
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Damn! I pissed 8 of them.
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Old 04-17-07, 10:47 AM
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8/9. I think I missed the minimum wage question.
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Old 04-17-07, 11:19 AM
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Dammit - 6 out of 9. I too missed the minimum wage question. I couldn't remember if it passed both the House and the Senate and guessed wrong.

Also, and I'm embarassed to admit this, I didn't know Hilary Clinton had OFFICIALLY announced her campaign for the presidency. I haven't followed any of the races at all, so I thought she was still thinking about it.

Better than 60% of the population though.
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Old 04-17-07, 11:20 AM
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You people are dumber than I thought.

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Old 04-17-07, 11:25 AM
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Thank you for taking our News IQ quiz. You correctly answered 9 of the 9 possible questions along with approximately 4% of the public. You did better than 96% of the general public.

W00T
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Old 04-17-07, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Draven
Also, and I'm embarassed to admit this, I didn't know Hilary Clinton had OFFICIALLY announced her campaign for the presidency. I haven't followed any of the races at all, so I thought she was still thinking about it.
I got 8 out of 9, and I think that's the question I missed as well.

Has she "officially declared"? Was that the whole Let the Conversation Begin foolishness?
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Old 04-17-07, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
You people are dumber than I thought.

Well, if you're so smart maybe you can explain this post...

Originally Posted by classicman2
Damn! I pissed 8 of them.
Does that mean 8 right or 8 wrong?
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Old 04-17-07, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
I got 8 out of 9, and I think that's the question I missed as well.

Has she "officially declared"?
I would take this as a yes:

<a href = "http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/20/clinton.announcement/index.html">Hillary Clinton launches White House bid: 'I'm in'</a>
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Old 04-17-07, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by X
Well, if you're so smart maybe you can explain this post...
I'm not touching that one.
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Old 04-17-07, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
I got 8 out of 9, and I think that's the question I missed as well.

Has she "officially declared"? Was that the whole Let the Conversation Begin foolishness?
"I'm in. And I'm in to win."
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Old 04-17-07, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Damn! I pissed 8 of them.
Prostate acting up again?
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Old 04-17-07, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
You people are dumber than I thought.

One tidbit I found fascinating -- on the question of what the minimum wage was raised to, respondents with higher education levels were more likely to answer correctly. I understand why that is the case generally, but one would think respondents with a lower education level are more likely to be directly affected by an increase in the minimum wage.
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Old 04-17-07, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Lunatikk
Thank you for taking our News IQ quiz. You correctly answered 9 of the 9 possible questions along with approximately 4% of the public. You did better than 96% of the general public.

W00T
Even though you're smart, Pew apparently doesn't think you're smart enough to realize that 100%-4%=96% without a little help.
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Old 04-17-07, 12:33 PM
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Thank you for taking our News IQ quiz. You correctly answered 4 out of the 9 possible questions, which means you did better on the quiz than 27% of the general public.

<img src=http://people.umass.edu/ccostell/dunce.jpg>
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Old 04-17-07, 01:02 PM
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Reality - I got them all correct.

Did you expect anything differently?
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Old 04-17-07, 01:34 PM
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7/9

Unfair! I got the "Has Congress passed an increase in minimum wage?" question wrong (I thought it was just the House), and so they didn't even ask me the "How much?" question and counted that one as wrong also!
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Old 04-17-07, 05:58 PM
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8/9

I got the question about which part of Congress increased the minimum wage wrong (thought only the House got it passed and the Senate was deliberating) . . . but I'm counting that second one, I know it was $7.25 even though it didn't ask.
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Old 04-17-07, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Reality - I got them all correct.

Did you expect anything differently?
Considering you can't seem to tell the difference between an adjective and an adverb, yes.
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Old 04-17-07, 06:46 PM
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I got the minimum wage question wrong, but didn't get asked the second one so that's not fair. Also underestimated the military deaths at 2300 instead of 3300. This is why I rarely post here and just read .
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