By Doug Schoen, of all people. A reader reminds me of the 2011 survey that Schoen conducted of different ideological groups, testing their ability to pass civics tests.
A solid 70 percent of conservative Republicans passed, followed by 61 percent of GOP moderates and 55 percent of GOP liberals. For Democrats, it was the opposite: liberals and moderates proved better informed, with 62 percent of both groups passing, but just 36 percent of conservative Democrats did so. In other words, conservative Democrats pulled down the numbers for both their ideology and their party, while the centers of both parties were the least engaged. The operative theory about America’s political situation holds that the fringe of each party is poorly informed, and the middle possesses the wisdom, but our numbers show it’s actually the extremes that are engaged—and thus, up on their facts—while the middle is relatively ill informed.
After writing this, Schoen co-wrote a book titled “Mad As Hell,” about the rise and worth of the Tea Party… and then he signed up as a pollster for Americans Elect, saying stuff like “with a centrist agenda, Americans Elect can win.”