|Pew Research: Republicans More Knowledgeable Than Democrats|
|BY TIMOTHY H. LEE |
THURSDAY, MARCH 22 2012
So Republicans are more knowledgeable than Democrats, contrary to what many would like to believe.
According to whom? None other than the Pew Research Center, a left-of-center organization. Moreover, Pew’s latest survey only reaffirms previous surveys demonstrating the same result.
In fact, the results weren’t even close.
In a scientific survey of 1,168 adults conducted during September and October of last year, respondents were asked not only multiple-choice questions, but also queries using maps, photographs and symbols. Among other subjects, participants identified international leaders, cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, nations on a world map, the current unemployment and poverty rates and war casualty totals.
In a 2010 Pew survey, Republicans outperformed Democrats on 10 of 12 questions, with one tie and Democrats outperforming Republicans on just 1 of the 12. In the latest survey, however, Republicans outperformed Democrats on every single one of 19 questions.
Amusingly, the Pew report attempted to soften the stark partisan knowledge disparity:
“Republicans generally outperformed Democrats on the current quiz. On 13 of the 19 questions, Republicans score significantly higher than Democrats and there are no questions on which Democrats did better than Republicans. In past knowledge quizzes, partisan differences have been more muted, though Republicans often have scored somewhat higher than Democrats.”
“Generally outperformed?” “Somewhat higher?” That’s a curiously charitable way to describe the surveys, which went from previous blowouts to a complete shutout in the latest edition.
Those Pew results are confirmed by some surprising other sources. According to a New York Timesheadline dated April 14, 2010, “Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated.” Shattering widespread myths, that survey revealed that Tea Party supporters were more likely to possess a college degree than their counterparts (23% to 15%), and also more likely to have completed post-graduate studies (14% to 10%). Tea Partiers were also more likely to have completed “some college” by a 33% to 28% margin, and substantially less likely to have not completed high school than non-supporters (3% versus 12%), or to possess only a high school degree (26% versus 35%).
Those results will probably come as a rude awakening to supporters of Barack Obama, but it won’t to anyone paying attention. As just the latest example, consider the cheap laugh line that Obama keeps repeating on his current reelection tour thinly disguised as an energy policy apologia. As gasoline prices continue to rise due in part to his agenda, Obama likens anyone critical of his failed energy decisions to a modern-day “Flat Earth Society” in speech after speech.
The problem for Obama is that his attempted slur betrays historical illiteracy, as summarized nicely by conservative blogger Clayton Cramer:
“Now, if you attended high school, or college, you would know (or should know) that there was no educated European who thought the Earth was flat. None. The dispute that made it hard for Columbus to get funding was that he insisted the Earth was 18,000 miles in circumference, so the Indies were a plausible voyage west from Spain. The experts who told the various governments of Europe that Columbus wasn’t going to be successful thought the Earth was closer to 25,000 miles around – and sailing west to the Indies was going to be a failure. Had there not been the Americas in the way, Columbus and crew would have died of thirst.”
On his current tour, Obama also inaccurately maligned former President Rutherford B. Hayes as disdainful of the telephone. As Mona Charen also noted this week, Obama also “told us that America invented the automobile and that John F. Kennedy had met with Nikita Kruschev when we were on the brink of nuclear war,” when in fact the automobile was invented in Germany and Kennedy actually met Kruschev one year prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
This is the same President who referred to “57 states,” misstated the Citizens United decision in an address to the nation, pronounced Navy “corpsman” as “corpse-man” and blatantly misrepresented that Japanese automobiles now average 45 miles per gallon to our 27.5 standard.
Meanwhile, gas prices continue to break records while the Trash-Talker-in-Chief trots out fraudulent “flat earth” and “Rutherford B. Hayes” rhetoric.
None of this disparages anyone of any educational pedigree. It does, however, once again debunk the notion among preening liberals that they collectively maintain a knowledge or educational superiority.