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Poll: One Third of Americans Don't Know Branches of Government

By    |   Thursday, 18 September 2014 05:50 PM

About a third of Americans are familiar with the three branches of the government, a new poll finds.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center conducted a survey ahead of Constitution Day, which was Wednesday, and reported that 36 percent of those surveyed could name all three branches of the United States government.

Thirty-five percent were not able to name even one branch.

The Constitution establishes three branches of government: Executive (the president, vice president, and cabinet), legislative (Congress), and judicial (the Supreme Court and lower federal courts).

Twenty-one percent of the respondents also wrongly believed that Congress is required to reconsider a Supreme Court decision that is reached by a 5-4 vote. Only 27 percent knew it takes a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate to override a presidential veto.

"Although surveys reflect disapproval of the way Congress, the president and the Supreme Court are conducting their affairs, the Annenberg survey demonstrates that many know surprisingly little about these branches of government," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the Annenberg Public Policy Center's director. "This survey offers dramatic evidence of the need for more and better civics education."

Forty-four percent of those polled were not aware of which party controlled the House of Representatives, while 42 percent did not know who controlled the Senate. Both of those figures were at 27 percent in 2011,  according to the Annenberg center.

The Annenberg center and 25 other nonpartisan organizations launched the Civics Renewal Network in response to Americans' lack of knowledge about the government. The network offers free resources for teachers at civicsrenewalnetwork.org.

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About a third of Americans are familiar with the three branches of the government, a new poll finds.
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Thursday, 18 September 2014 05:50 PM
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