Only 46% Know Republicans Won the House

Only 46 percent of Americans know that Republicans will have a majority only in the House when the new Congress convenes in January.

Whenever I’m tempted to attribute wisdom to the Will of the People, I remind myself of things like this:

Pew Research: “While 75% identify the Republicans as the party regarded as doing best in the midterms, fewer than half (46%) know that Republicans will have a majority only in the House when the new Congress convenes in January. About one-in-seven (14%) say the GOP won both the House and Senate; 8% say they won just the Senate; 5% do not think they will have a majority in either chamber; and 27% do not know.”

I don’t expect the mass public to have a lot of specialized knowledge about politics.  Given how much time it requires to be truly informed and the incredibly small payoff it gives, it’s not worthwhile for most people to make the effort.  But, damn, I don’t know how you miss this sort of thing.

Some of the other things on the list — Google’s cellphone software, the rate at which TARP loans have been repaid, and even the British PM — are a little more understandable.

via Taegan Goddard

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, Political Theory, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. sam says:

    Kinda makes the notion of a “mandate” suspect, no?

  2. Vast Variety says:

    Isn’t that sort of like the number of Americans that can’t find the US on a globe?

  3. James Joyner says:

    @sam: With rare exceptions, I think the notion of a “mandate” is BS. It’s not so much that voters are uniformed but that they make decisions for very disparate reasons. 2006 was a backlash against Bush, 2008 against Bush and the economy, and 2010 against Obama and the economy. The idea that they were about a litany of programmatic items is absurd.

  4. sam says:

    Preach it, Brother.

  5. sam says:

    BTW, anybody else seeing mouse type in the comments, now?

  6. Pug says:

    I got all twelve correct (top 1%). Therefore, I should be considered an expert on just about everything and anything I say should be taken very seriously.

  7. Jacob says:

    This surprises me not at all. While canvassing for Democrats, I found that several people had no idea who our local representative was. He’s on his second term! Most people just shrug their shoulders and go about their daily business. I do, too, but my daily business usually involves reading about what’s new.