Americans Know More about ISIS and the Minimum Wage, Less about Poverty Level and Government Spending
The level of familiarity Americans have with current affairs can largely depend on what the mainstream media is focused on, a new poll shows.
The Pew Research Center quizzed about 1,000 individuals on a variety of topics to see how much they know on domestic and foreign policy subjects. You can take the test here before some of the responses are revealed below.
The questions most respondents got right was that the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour at 73% and that Syria is one of the Middle East countries partially occupied by ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) at 67%.
Both of these subjects have received considerable coverage in the news. ISIS has been a leading topic since militants took over large sections of Iraq, and increasing the minimum wage was a major policy initiative of President Barack Obama’s until recently.
But there were plenty of subjects that fewer than 30% of respondents understood, perhaps because the media have paid less attention to those stories.
Only 20% of respondents knew that 15% of Americans live below the poverty line, and 20% knew that the federal government spends more on Social Security than any other program. A slightly higher number, 24%, though, did know the name of the new chairperson of the Federal Reserve: Janet Yellen.
To Learn More:
From ISIS to Unemployment: What Do Americans Know? (Pew Research Center) (pdf)
News IQ Quiz (Pew Research Center)
90% of Americans Value Scientific Research, but Only 74% Know that the Earth Revolves Around the Sun (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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