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12 Year Olds Know Government Better Than Adults

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New Poll: 12 Year Olds Know Congress Could Cut War Money, Adults Believe Congress Powerless to End Iraq Occupation
By David Swanson

A pair of new polls may suggest the power of falsehoods repeated ad infinitum on our televisions and in our newspapers. The first poll asked 2,000 American 12 year olds whether Congress has the power to end the occupation of Iraq. Minorities believed Congress did not, or believed it could do so if the Democrats had larger majorities. But a 61 percent majority of those polled believed that Congress could simply stop funding the occupation, and that the Democrats in Congress had sufficient majorities to accomplish this without any Republican assistance.

Those 61 percent of 12 year olds were correct. Blocking funding in either the House or the Senate would be sufficient, because bills must pass both houses. Blocking funding in the House would require 50 percent plus one, and in the Senate would require 41 senators.

A second poll, this one of likely voters, all over the age of 18, found that only 32 percent believed that Congress has the power to end the occupation of Iraq. Meanwhile, 49 percent believed Congress would have that power if the Democrats held larger majorities. Richard Ovvio, Professor of Statistics at the University of Bugia, concluded that the primary reason for adults' failure to understand their government as well as sixth graders was adults' increased news media consumption. In fact, of those adults who gave the correct answer, 78 percent said they watched little or no television news, and 63 percent said they would consider it animal cruelty to line a bird cage with the Washington Post.

Furthermore, the fact that I completely made all of this up is more reflective of my failure to own a polling company than anything else.


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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)

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