Americans know surprisingly little about their government, survey finds

The Annenberg Public Policy Center: “Americans show great uncertainty when it comes to answering basic questions about how their government works, a national survey conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania has found.
The survey of 1,416 adults, released for Constitution Day (Sept. 17) in conjunction with the launch of the Civics Renewal Network, found that:

  • While little more than a third of respondents (36 percent) could name all three branches of the U.S. government, just as many (35 percent) could not name a single one.
  • Just over a quarter of Americans (27 percent) know it takes a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto.
  • One in five Americans (21 percent) incorrectly thinks that a 5-4 Supreme Court decision is sent back to Congress for reconsideration.

“Although surveys reflect disapproval of the way Congress, the President and the Supreme Court are conducting their affairs, the Annenberg survey demonstrates that many know surprisingly little about these branches of government,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC). “This survey offers dramatic evidence of the need for more and better civics education.”

The Civics Renewal Network

To address the problem, APPC and 25 other nonpartisan organizations, including the Library of Congress, the National Constitution Center, the U.S. Courts, the National Archives, and the Newseum, announced the launch of the Civics Renewal Network, a unique partnership among some of the nation’s leaders in civics education. The network offers free, high-quality resources for teachers through the one-stop website….”