Almost every survey of what people know about political issues shows the same things. Men know more than women, college grads know more than high-school grads, and older people know more than the young. So it’s telling that in the recently released Pew Research political knowledge quiz, one question reverses the normal trend. Can you guess what it is?
It’s the amount of the current federal minimum wage. More women know it is $7.25 per hour than men, and more 18–29 year olds know what it is than those over 50. More college grads know what the wage is than those with a high-school degree, but the gap is the smallest (78 to 68 percent) of any other question.
This probably has something to do with which groups of people either earn the minimum wage or work in close proximity with those who do. After all, it doesn’t matter much to a struggling single mom who chairs the Federal Reserve. But that person surely knows how much she and her colleagues have to be paid.
Conservatives desperately want to reverse the political gender gap. Perhaps we should take a hard look at what reverses the political-knowledge gender gap first.
— Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.