What Do Americans Really Know About Politics?

The elections are less than 2 months away and time for us all to think about politics. So the big question is what do Americans really know about politics?

As statewide primaries continue through the summer, many Americans are beginning to think about which candidates they will support in the 2022 general election.

This decision-making process is fraught with difficulties, especially for inexperienced voters.

Voters must navigate angry, emotion-laden conversations about politics when trying to sort out whom to vote for. Americans are more likely than ever to view politics in moral terms, meaning their political conversations sometimes feel like epic battles between good and evil.

But political conversations are also shaped by, obviously, what Americans know – and, less obviously, what they think they know – about politics.

In recent research, I studied how Americans’ perceptions of their own political knowledge shape their political attitudes. My results show that many Americans think they know much more about politics than they really do.

Knowledge deficit, confidence surplus

Over the past five years, I have studied the phenomenon of what I call “political overconfidence.” My work, in tandem with other researchers’ studies, reveals the ways it thwarts democratic politics.

Political overconfidence can make people more defensive of factually wrong beliefs about politics. It also causes Americans to underestimate the political skill of their peers. And those who believe themselves to be political experts often dismiss the guidance of real experts.

Political overconfidence also interacts with political partisanship, making partisans less willing to listen to peers across the aisle.

The result is a breakdown in the ability to learn from one another about political issues and events.


Try carrying on a political conversation and it will turn into a debate…..we all know we are right and refuse to see anything but what we believe is true.

So the next question is will this election be an asterisk election?

This is an opinion from fivethirtyeight.com…..

In 2020, we took pains to emphasize that, although he was a significant underdog in our forecast, then-President Donald Trump could absolutely win reelection. Frankly, I’m not sure we’ve taken the same care this year when it comes to Democrats and the U.S. House. Their chances to hold the House started out in the Trump-in-2020 vicinity when we launched our forecast — 13 percent — and now they’ve risen to 20 percent amidst an improving political environment for Democrats.

It’s still not terribly likely Democrats win control of the House. But it also means that a GOP takeover is far from a foregone conclusion. So, let’s talk about that 20 percent chance.

Democrats started out with 222 House seats following the 2020 election, four more than the number required for a majority. According to our model, there’s a 7 percent chance that Democrats wind up with fewer than 222 seats after November but still enough seats to maintain a narrow majority. Meanwhile, there’s a 13 percent chance that they actually gain seats.1 Those numbers combined give them their 20 percent chances.

Time for a quick historical gut check. In 19 midterm elections since World War II, the president’s party lost fewer than five seats in the House once, in 1962. And they gained seats twice, in 1998 and 2002. That means three out of 19 times the president’s party would have a successful enough midterm to keep the House, or 16 percent of the time. That squares pretty well with our model’s 20 percent estimate. Of course, the closer we get to the election, the more we can rely on data specific to this year — but it’s good that we’re somewhere in the ballpark.

Will This Be An Asterisk* Election?

This upcoming election is not one that is easy to analyze…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


6 thoughts on “What Do Americans Really Know About Politics?

  1. People will do what they always do when it comes time to mark that ballot. They will vote like their parents always voted or they will vote like their friends tell them to vote or they will vote like the TV, Radio, Newspaper and Magazines they have listened to and read suggest that they should. But to actually sit down and analyze issues and candidate views on things? I doubt that One in Ten prospective voters will do any critical thinking about their vote. And as to how Right Wingers will vote? They will vote however their inebriated mind or drug induced state dictates in their hallucinations about how the world works and mouths like the mouth of Trumpers will be there to encourage their ignorance. The act of attaching legitimate intelligence to the process of voting will be very limited in this country where everything is pre-packaged and disposable. If voting does not come in a pretty package or if it is not easy enough for the lazy and the apathetic to easily accomplish with the least possible effort and thought, it won’t get done. In that case, like the case I just now mentioned, voting becomes nothing more than a mindless reflex action taken to give the voter a legitimate claim to the brag, “I voted.”

      1. Worse than “Deep Do Do” is the fact that nothing is going to change barring a significant national calamity.

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