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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Knowledge in Fall 2014

Pew reports on its latest News IQ quiz.
The survey finds that a large majority (73%) is able to correctly identify the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour (from a list of other amounts ranging from $5.25 to $12.50).
In addition, amid ongoing U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic militants in the Middle East, 67% can identify Syria as one of the countries in which the militant group known as ISIS currently controls territory (from a list that included Pakistan, Kuwait and Egypt). And 60% know that Ukraine was once part of the Soviet Union; the other choices were Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Scandinavia.
Other questions prove more challenging. About half (49%) know that the term “Common Core” refers to school curriculum standards. Relatively few choose the other options, which include “the military’s code of conduct,” “abdominal exercises” and “a newly developed microprocessor,” but 37% volunteer that they don’t know the answer.
As the death toll from the Ebola crisis rises, 46% are able to identify Liberia from among four African countries as the one that has experienced a major outbreak of the disease. The survey was conducted before a man who had recently arrived in the U.S. from Liberia was diagnosed with Ebola. When it comes to the domestic economy, even fewer (33%) know the unemployment rate is currently closest to 6%; many estimate it higher – 45% say either it is 9% or 12%.
And, as in past News IQ quizzes, questions requiring name recall prove difficult. Just 38% could identify Benjamin Netanyahu as the current prime minister of Israel, while even fewer (24%) named Janet Yellen as the current chair of the Federal Reserve Board (17% say it is Alan Greenspan, who stepped down as Fed chair in 2006).
On nine of the 12 questions included in the survey, only about half or fewer get the answer correct. The average number of correct answers given is five. The news quiz survey was conducted September 25-28 among 1,002 adults. (Full question wording.)