After last Tuesday’s midterm election, political observers and Democrats, especially, bemoaned the fact that young voters — those under the age of 30 — stayed away from the polls in droves, as in fact they often do. Young voters in almost every election vote in smaller numbers than any other age demographic.
Now some clever students at Texas Tech University may have found out why that is. As you’ll see in this video by the Texas Tech student political group PoliTech, most young people apparently have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to politics and history.
In the video, the PoliTech members interview a selection of their fellow students, asking some extremely simple, factual questions.
We’re not talking about asking these young people to explain the Treaty of Versailles, or describe the effect of quantitative easing on the currency supply. No, these are such straightforward questions as, “Who won the Civil War?” and “Who is the Vice President?”
The answers that these college students give to these elementary school-level questions are astonishing — in fact, most of the students give no answers at all. They simply have no clue.
The PoliTech students who created and posted this video on October 28 came under some fire for supposedly singling out Texas Tech as a place where students don’t learn basic facts. But PoliTech issued a statement a few days later, saying that they had no intention of singling out their own school.
“We are confident that if we were to perform this same experiment in any other university in the nation, we would receive similar answers,” PoliTech said in the statement. “Could these students have answered these questions correctly if they were on a written exam? We believe so. But the video shows that political matters are not what’s currently on college student’s minds. Instead, they are pre-occupied with useless pop-culture that is constantly being fed to them by today’s media.”
Indeed, the students have no problem whatsoever answering questions such as, “Who is Brad Pitt married to?” and, “What show is Snooki on?”
The Texas Tech students are certainly not unique. A 2008 survey found that while one of every five Americans could name all five members of TV’s fictional Simpsons family, only one in 1,000 could name all five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
For the record, if you happen to be one of those other 999, the five First Amendment freedoms are: religion, speech, the press, peaceful assembly, and the right to petition the government.
How many of the politics and history questions in this video did you get right?