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(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) There’s at least some evidence pointing towards the idea. Every year the Annenberg Public Policy Center does a survey of Americans’ knowledge of civics as part of its celebration of Constitution Day, and this year’s poll found a substantial increase in the number of Americans who can correctly answer some basic questions about how our government is supposed to work, even as our political divides grow deeper.
Let’s start with the good news. According to Annenberg, more Americans could identify the three branches of government this year than in any of their previous polls dating back to 2006. The bad news, of course, is that close to half of all respondents could name the judicial, legislative, and executive branches. Still, it’s a sign of progress than only 1 in 5 Americans couldn’t name a single branch, considering the fact that for most of this century about a third of us drew a complete blank when asked that question.
The Annenberg Center’s survey didn’t ask any questions about the Second Amendment, at least none that they’ve revealed at the moment, which I find rather odd given the surge in gun purchases and the number of new gun owners over the past 20 months or so. I would have loved to have seen some questions relating to the right to keep and bear arms, because I’m pretty sure that we’ve seen some growth in the number of Americans who can not only identify what the Second Amendment is all about, but view their right to own and carry a gun as a good thing.
While the survey was silent on the Second Amendment, respondents were asked several questions about their First Amendment rights. Again, the results were something of a mixed bag. Asked to name the protections specified in the First Amendment, as many people or more could name most of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment as were able to do so last year. Three-quarters (74%) named freedom of speech, statistically the same as in 2020 (73%). Freedom of religion was named by 56% (up from 47%), freedom […]
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