City Desk

Turns Out Republicans and Democrats Are Equally Stupid

Yet another reason why more Americans should stay home on election day:

Republicans are generally convinced that Democrats are a bunch of self-destructive, naïve Commies. Democrats, conversely, assume a healthy plurality of Republicans boast the IQ of a spotted toad.

Well, the good folks at the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press recently measured the political acumen of more than 3,000 adults and found that we're equally uninformed and both ridiculously ill-equipped to vote....

And since most of us are hopelessly dense — or, at least, that's the rationalization we hear every time a Republican is elected — it is interesting to note that viewers of Fox News' partisan slugfest, Hannity & Colmes, scored only 2 percent below those smarty pants who listen to NPR.

In fact, larger numbers of habitual listeners of Rush Limbaugh than erudite readers of The New Yorker and Vanity Fair were able to explain who is in charge of Congress.

Read the whole thing, courtesy of the Denver Post's David Harsanyi (and a hat tip to Matt Welch).

Let's face it—most of the yuppies who pledge allegiance to Vanity Fair and NPR read only James Wolcott's pieces and listen only to Car Talk (and/or A Prairie Home Companion). As a reader of VF (though not the New Yorker) I'm downright embarrassed that my fellow subscribers couldn't beat Douche Limbaugh's listeners in a very simple poll. What the fuck, people? You call yourselves the liberal elite? Get it together. Take notes. Buy a highlighter or something. Consider making flash cards.

[Side note: I wanted to work at NPR once upon a time, and an older, wiser journalist told me that the only times I wouldn't regret working in public radio would be during cocktail parties, when I could brag about working for next to nothing in a medium that no one cares about. I now suspect that catering to listeners who know less than AM nut jobs would cancel out the cocktail effect.]

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  • DCDominican

    i have always agreed with gore vidal, when he said, “the best case against democracy is a 10 minute conversation with an average voter.”

  • Ian

    I'm not necessarily saying that the results might have been significantly different otherwise, but trying to say anything substantive with a quiz that asks only three questions is pretty half-assed research design. You could get a lot more nuance and more significant results with a slightly more comprehensive quiz. A poll of half as many people with twice as many questions would have been a much better use of the same amount of time for the folks at Pew.

  • Mike Riggs

    Re DCDominican: One of my favorite hypothetical questions is, Would you rather live under a democratic system where you're constantly at risk of being ruled by a tyrannical majority, or under a benevolent dictator who prioritizes personal liberty over all else? I prefer the dictator, despite the likelihood that no dictator has ever protected personal liberty.

    Re Ian: More questions would shed more light on American ignorance. Do we really want to know the depths of our own incompetence?

  • Dave

    So, you decided not to work at NPR because it would be "working for next to nothing in a medium that no one cares about." How's that going for you at the CP, Riggs?

  • Mike Riggs

    Touche! At least I'm not paying union dues...

  • DCDominican

    i hear ya mike...


    the problem with getting too philosophical is that once you begin to really look at candidates and actually ask yourself to answer your hypotheticals as brutally honest as you can, than you will find that your candidate’s positions all begin to look pro market, conservative, and similar to one another.

    this could lead you to do loony and insane things like vote for nader which results in people like W getting elected. so in the end, nothing really matters and your vote is just as insignificant and ill informed as the ignorant voter who votes for palin because she looks like a MILF.

    to think we’re better is a bit of an illusion. yes, the rural are idiots, but in the end, we the urban are just as irrelevant.

    my candidate this year, like any other year is a democrat, and this year, it happens to be senator obama, who will no doubt, continue the complete emancipation of the markets which, despite the obvious, is not going to solve the economic crisis

    I think he is a better candidate than mccain simply because he has a more progressive stand on the war and will actually reduce troop levels as long as the democrats maintain a majority in congress.

    His health care plan is not as strong as HRC , but it hardly matters for he will not be able to implement it and will forget about it, by his second year in office.

    Promises by politicians hardly matter. I don’t doubt that obama is a pragmatic progressive, but the presidency of the united states is not a seat for pragmatic progressives. It is a seat reserved for centrists l and W fucked it up and that is why the GOP is being shown the door.

  • Dave

    Just realized my previous comment was unnecessarily bitchy, not to mention quite hypocritical seeing as how I work for a publication with an even lower profile than the CP. My apologies, Riggs. You guys are doing amazing work over there, considering the circumstances.

    That said, NPR rulez!!!