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  • Lance Mannion
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Walter Biggins

I was 8 for 12. Not surprised that I missed the Dow Jones one or the filibustering one, but I am truly embarrassed about the Iraq/Afghanistan casualties and my Supreme Court/women answer. *sigh* Still, I did better than 73% of those who answered, so that's something, right? Right?


11 out of 12. I really had no idea what the Dow Jones average was.


Lance, thanks for the link, I got 11 of 12 right. Missed the one about imported oil.

Delicious Pundit

I got 10 /12 although I am still convinced the so-called "correct" answer to #1 is elitist.

What's also interesting is after when you see how many people got the questions right. Only 26% know how many votes it takes to break a filibuster! After a whole year of reporting about it! I think it's because there wasn't an "America Rock" about it. It's the kind of number which makes you think that maybe the American Revolution wasn't such a hot idea after all.

Ken Muldrew

10/12 (but I'm a foreigner). I missed the dead soldiers and the underpants bomber (the latter was the only one that I thought I was guessing at).


11/12, I also missed the one about importing oil.

Doug K


to my shame I remembered Justice Ginsberg but not Justice Sotomayor.. how soon we (I) forget.

thought it was probably China owning most of the debt but guessed Saudi Arabia. It's only #3, and at that it's lumped in with the other oil exporters. I was surprised Japan has so much, but I guess that was from the 80s when Japan was buying everything.

knew the filibuster was 60, but said 67 because of some dim memory that the rules were different for voting on a bill, and voting to bring the bill to a vote. So I thought it was a trick question..
67 is the number of votes for changing Senate rules, to stop the possibility of filibusters. I'm old and confused I guess.

Did not know where the underpants bomber was trained and guessed wrong. Oh well.


Also 8 out of 12. I'm pretty out of touch, so the only reason I was surprised is that I got two or three more than I thought I would.

Tim S.

I got 11/12, missed the % of U.S. oil imported. But seriously, the number of votes to break a filibuster? After all this recent talk about a "supermajority" and all that?

Michael Alan Nelson

12/12 but I guessed on the Dow Jones question. What I find interesting about the public results is that 6% did not correctly answer ANY of the questions. Even choosing at random should net you at least 1 correct answer. I'd be curious to see how much of that is the result of ignorance vs. misinformation.


Another 11/12, with the oil being the wrong one; I guessed one-half. The soldier-deaths was close to a blind guess.


11/12 correct - I also missed the Dow Jones question, giving an answer half of the correct one.


12 for 12. It's no wonder they give the debt holder question two correct answers: keeping track of bond sales is no job for the lazy.


I got 11 out of 12 and learned something about myself in the process: On the Dow question, I kept thinking 10,000 but willed myself lower in my answer. I actually tensed up doing that one! "Wow," I thought later, "you've become so hostile to Wall Street that you actually wish them unwell!" This is not good.

I sent this thing to a group of friends. I didn't ask for their results; I thought the value was for them to see how they did compared to the abysmal averages. But a number of people have gotten back to me and all are at 10, 11, and 12... even the two who live abroad. So no wonder I sometimes feel out of sync with the world.(My jaw literally does flop open when I watch the tea party people or Michelle Bachman.) I'm not hanging out with people who don't know this stuff.

Mike Schilling

Also 12/12, but educated guesses on the oil import percentages and the military fatalities.

Now, how about an important one, like the only player never to finish below ninth in MVP voting?

Chris G.

12/12, which makes me feel better about teaching Intro to American Politics tomorrow morning.


12/12, but thought Japan might have more debt than China.

Cleveland Bob

11/12. Missed the Imported Oil question. Good pop quiz tho'..

Bill Altreuter

I over-thought Iraq/Afghanistan casualties, but the rest seemed straightforward enough. It is hard to avoid knowing about the Dow, which is reported on every evening; you only need to look at the first five things you pick up or touch to know that everything comes from China; and oil import data is something that we have been hearing about since the Carter Administration.

Who's who in government and what the rules are is stuff I'd think anyone who is moderately engaged would know, but I'm optimistic that way.

Echoing Michael Alan Nelson's question about misinformation, I think it would be interesting to correlate the responses to the principle news sources or the respondents. I'll bet you a nickle that the scores would decline as reliance upon television increases (although Daily Show viewers might affect that curve somewhat).


11 out of 12. Question two wrong, guessed the oil question. Being German that's OK. Maybe I spend too much time on the internet.


11/12, becoz they use the official, that is to say "officially cooked", numbers for unemployment. Of course they have to, but boo.

mac macgillicuddy

I messed myself up with what my wife says is my usual m/o. I tried to "outfox" the test. I decided the question about the U.S. debt was a trick question, and I remember a 60 Minutes piece a while back about how much debt the Saudis hold. So even though I KNEW the answer, I answered Saudi Arabia. Gong!

The toughest question for me was owning up to my age...


Interesting results if you look at the demographics. Those 30 and under have a fairly good grasp of the big picture items, like our debt level, the wars, oil consumption and women's percentage on the court. Anything to do with specific events that one might glean from reading a newspaper or watching a news broadcast, they can't answer. And politics -- forget it. Harry who?
The only answer where they beat the duffers is on identifying Colbert. Thank the FSM that Republicans just can't do comedy (Michael Steele excluded).

I missed the one about China/Japan. I thought China was too easy.


11/12. Wrong on where the December bomber was trained and got lucky with some guesses on the oil, filibuster and debt votes. But question #11 (the majority leader) -- how I wish the second choice was correct!


Don't be too proud of yourself if you got 12/12.

One of their answers is wrong: at least from the standpoint of anybody in the oil industry, the oil import question and its answer are bogus.

The US Energy Information Agency is the authority on the data. According to their website (updated January 6, 2010), 2008 US production totaled 8514.3 kbd versus consumption of 19498.0 kbd. Net imports totaled 10983.7 kbd. According to my trusty calculator, net oil imports comprised 56% of total consumption in 2008. The last time I checked, 56% is closer to 50% than it is to 67%.

The most recent year that EIA has published annual results is 2008. There is monthly data for 2009. Scanning the monthly data, it pretty clear that imports ( ) fell from 2008 to 2009 while exports actually increased a bit ( ). I didn’t run the numbers, but it’s pretty obvious that the import percentage didn’t increase by ten percentage points.

So, how is that the Pew Charitable Trust, funded by the heirs of an oil tycoon and dedicated to “press and policy issues”, can’t manage to get the answer to a fundamental question about US oil imports correct? Don’t tell me that they used gross imports as a metric rather than net imports: that would convey an lamentable lack of industry understanding.

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