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75 Percent of Americans Cannot Name All Three Government Branches

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75 Percent of Americans Cannot Name All Three Government Branches

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Nearly three-quarters of Americans cannot name all three branches of the United States federal government, according to a survey released in September.

Researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) at the University of Pennsylvania found that only 26 percent of U.S. adults questioned could identify the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government.

According to a press release from the organization, a full third—33 percent—could not name a single government branch, a figure that has not changed since 2011.

Respondents also scored low on questions regarding specific rights afforded by the U.S. Constitution.

About half of those polled (48 percent) could identify freedom of speech as a right afforded by the First Amendment. Far fewer were able to identify the First Amendment’s other components: freedom of religion (15 percent), freedom of the press (14 percent), the right of assembly (10 percent), and the right to petition the government (3 percent). Thirty-seven percent could not name any First Amendment rights.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the APPC, called the results “worrisome” and believes that protecting constitution rights presumes knowledge of what they are.

“These results emphasize the need for high-quality civics education in the schools and for press reporting that underscores the existence of constitutional protections,” she said in the press release.


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