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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Age and Knowledge about Parties

Our chapter on public opinion talks at length about what Americans know of politics. The Pew Research Center reports on a new survey of knowledge about political parties:
Although previous Pew Research surveys of political knowledge have found young people to be less knowledgeable than older people, the pattern in this poll is more mixed.
People younger than 30 are much less likely than older Americans to be able to correctly associate several political leaders with their parties. Fewer than half of those younger than 30 correctly identify Nancy Pelosi and Franklin Roosevelt as Democrats (43% each). By contrast, three quarters of those 65 and older know that Pelosi and Roosevelt are Democrats. The gap between young and old is nearly as large on the item about John F. Kennedy’s party (28 points).
But young people are relatively well informed about the parties’ positions on most issues. In fact, people younger than 30 are more likely than those 65 and older to know that the Democrats are more supportive of expanding gay rights (72% vs. 56%) and creating a way for illegal immigrants to become citizens (74% vs. 59%).