Civic Knowledge Among Americans Dropping, with 1 in 4 People Unable to Name Any Branch Of Government

Surprisingly, only a few people can name the three arms of the US government. But, interestingly, the number of people that can correctly name the executive, judiciary and legislative branches of government has dropped below 50% for the first time in six years. 

A new survey shows that almost half of Americans can’t name three arms of government 

According to a new Anneberg Public Policy Centre survey, only 47% of Americans know all three branches of government, a drop of almost 10 points from a year ago. What is worse is that almost 25% of Americans could not name any branch, and even fewer people knew what the role of the US supreme court was.

Similarly, the number of people that can name all the five freedoms stipulated in the First Amendment of the US Constitution has also dropped. For example, only 6% of the study participants were able to identify the “Right to petition the government” as their First Amendment right.

Self-described conservatives argue that “freedom of speech” knowledge seems to have been politically tainted or fallen. Around two-thirds of Americans believe that the First Amendment covers Facebook posts, with 51% incorrectly stating that the First Amendment rights force social media platforms to allow any posts on the platform. 

Dropping civic knowledge among American worrying 

Based on the findings, civic knowledge is dropping among Americans, prompting Annenberg Public Policy Centre director Kathleen Hall Jamieson to say it is a warning sign. Jamieson states that it is worrying that few people know their rights as provided in the First Amendment. She explains that it will be hard to exercise, cherish, and protect these rights if people are unaware of them. 

In a C-SPAN interview, Jamieson expresses disappointment at the findings following positive numbers in last year’s annual survey. She contends that if someone doesn’t know the civil rights, then most of the things happening in the news won’t make sense. Several tidbits and caveats of constitutional awareness show up across the latest figures. 

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