Evidence that Americans are not well-informed voters

This is from a survey by Middle Tennessee State University. Maybe I’m wrong in guessing the results would be similar if the survey were nationwide, but I think they would be.

This really depresses me. Can anyone provide information that Tennesee is somehow unusual in the number of its citizens showing ignorance of the candidate’s positions?

I guess I don’t actually have the seeds of a debate here, but I put it in GD because political threads usually belong here.

Maybe your title should have been “Evidence that Tennesseans are not well-informed voters”.

There’s still hope for the other 49 states and DC, unless there are other state surveys out there that are supporting the same notion.

And evidence that voters in Ohio don’t want to be informeed by “outsiders.” Not sure how many are aware of The Guardian’s efforts to influence American politics by having Brits send letters to voters in Ohio. Click on the link for some American responses to these efforts. To be honest – there’s something very American about the responses provided at the linked site.

The question is… and I’m serious here… how do other countries come off, in comparison? I’ve never seen a study.

I think the best evidence is the success of attack ads. I don’t believe they would work if people took time to investigate the issues for themselves.

Even scarier - from last year:

Poll: 70% believe Saddam, 9-11 link

But they only polled three people: Bush, Cheney, and Powell.

Wow. You really should read these. BTW, what specifically is “very American” about these? No argument from me, just curious about what makes these responses “American”. Here is one that caught my eye:

In 1980, more than half of all voters voted for Ronald Reagan, who ran on a platform of greatly lower taxes, greatly higher defense spending and balancing what was then considered a large federal deficit.

Were voters simply ignorant of his platform, or did they know his platform and believed it to be possible? Which was worse?

There isn’t necessarily the huge disconnect implied by the article. If one is a single issue voter (security/national defense), or merely favors a candidate based on some sort of social connection (he’s one of us).

Math isn’t your strong suit, is it?

My husband teaches at our local branch campus. He’s noted a very similar phenomenon to that in the OP. His students have loud, strident opinions, but can’t answer very simple questions about their candidate or the issues.

When asked, more than half of them admitted that they neither watch the news, read a newspaper, or do any research on the internet about current events. Their information is largely third or fourth hand: “What my mom said,” or “What my friend told me her preacher said.”

I dunno - sounds like a typical, knee-jerk American-raised-on-talk-radio reaction to me - don’t actually SAY anything, claim your superiority due just to being American, and throw insults and stereoypes at them.

Spoken just like someone from the upper left hand corner. You know, if we hadn’t bailed you guys out back in the 60s, you’d all be speaking Vietnamese!

If you know you are voting the party line, why pay attention to the issues?

I like this one…

Shouldn’t there be a bunch of republicans being charged as spies then.

I dunno, some of the responses are pretty darn clever:

I love it. Who says Americans don’t understand irony?

Good point. I am sufficiently familiar with the Republican Party line at the national level that if the only options on the ballot were whoever the Republicans ran and Satan, Satan would get my vote because he would be preferable. My political leanings are decidedly anarcho-syndicalist, and is is almost inconceivable that of whoever could manage to get the nomination as the Democrat and Republican candidate for President, the Democrat candidate would be preferable. And if either party did nominate a candidate who ran a campaign with extremely atypical politics for the party, surely that would be all over the news.

Paying close attention to the issues only makes sense if your politics tends to be in the middle of the political spectrum. Those whose politics aren’t probably need not bother.

I can’t wait to toss this one around the office - the Limeys I work with are sure to get this one!


Powell voted twice, then they rounded down to 70%.