The Corner

Oh . . . Dear

I have no doubt that there are  flaws with this poll of elected officials (the sample was only 165 respondents — a subset of some 30,000 surveyed — and I’d guess most weren’t elected to federal office). But still, this ain’t pretty:

Only 49 percent of elected officials could name all three branches of government, compared with 50 percent of the general public.

Only 46 percent knew that Congress, not the president, has the power to declare war — 54 percent of the general public knows that.

Just 15 percent answered correctly that the phrase “wall of separation” appears in Thomas Jefferson’s letters — not in the U.S. Constitution — compared with 19 percent of the general public.

And only 57 percent of those who’ve held elective office know what the Electoral College does, while 66 percent of the public got that answer right. (Of elected officials, 20 percent thought the Electoral College was a school for “training those aspiring for higher political office.”)

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, will be released on April 24.

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