Well Known: Twitter; Little Known: John Roberts

Source Organization: Pew Research Center


07/15/2010 - An overwhelming proportion of Americans are familiar with Twitter, the online information-sharing network. Perhaps more surprisingly, a large majority also knows that children who are born to illegal immigrants in the United States are automatically U.S. citizens.

Yet the public continues to struggle in identifying political figures, foreign leaders and even knowing facts about key government policies. Only about a third of Americans (34%) know that the government’s bailout of banks and financial institutions was enacted under the Bush administration. Nearly half (47%) incorrectly say that the Troubled Asset Relief Program – widely known as TARP – was signed into law by President Obama.

Even fewer (28%) are able to identify John Roberts as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. And just 19% know that David Cameron is the new prime minister of Great Britain.

The Pew Research Center’s latest News IQ Quiz, conducted July 1-5 among 1,007 adults reached on cell phones and landlines, finds that both young people and older people have a basic awareness of Twitter: 85% know that it is an online information-sharing service. And while young people fare particularly poorly on political knowledge, people younger than 30 are as likely as older Americans to know the host country of this year’s World Cup and that children born to illegal immigrants in the United States are automatically citizens.

Read the full report, Well Known: Twitter; Little Known: John Roberts on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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