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Are You Smarter Than An Elected Official?

By Greg L | 19 December 2008 | Patriotism | 28 Comments

Take this quiz and find out.  The score you have to beat is 44%.  Before you scoff at that score, you may want to take the test yourself.

This is a pretty interesting quiz with some good questions that might get you scratching your head for a bit.  Here’s the one I missed:

A flood-control levee (or National Defense) is considered a public good because:

A. citizens value it as much as bread and medicine
B. a resident can benefit from it without directly paying for it
C. government construction contracts increase employment
D. insurance companies cannot afford to replace all houses after a flood
E. government pays for its construction, not citizens

And yes, I missed one, but I’m pretty satisfied with a 97% on a civics quiz.  If you miss the question asking what the three branches of government are (as did about half of both respondents and elected officials), give yourself a good, strong slap.  If you miss the question on what the Electoral College is, you are hereby sentenced to a short remedial civics education of listening to Mark Levin’s next radio program in its entirety.  Should you miss the question about how profit is calculated, feel free to send me a check for five bucks as penance.

Take your time here.  Some of these cover material that is thoroughly cobwebbed in the deepest recesses of your mind, and may take some time to root it out.

Good luck!

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  1. Ted said on 19 Dec 2008 at 9:29 pm:
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    Thank you, thank you very much.

  2. James Young said on 19 Dec 2008 at 9:47 pm:
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    100%. Which elected official?

  3. BattleCat said on 19 Dec 2008 at 10:37 pm:
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  4. PWConservative said on 19 Dec 2008 at 11:18 pm:
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    This was my only mistake

    “30) Which of the following fiscal policy combinations would a government most likely follow to stimulate economic activity when the economy is in a severe recession?
    A. increasing both taxes and spending
    B. increasing taxes and decreasing spending
    C. decreasing taxes and increasing spending
    D. decreasing both taxes and spending”

    The question said “Would” not Should. So I went with A of course, After seeing the madness that the Government has recently exhibited.

    The answer was D

  5. Nick said on 20 Dec 2008 at 2:52 am:
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    PWConservative, I had the same problem with #30, I didn’t know what to do, because I don’t assume that a government will likely do what it should. I also got #8 wrong.

  6. Johnson said on 20 Dec 2008 at 10:06 am:
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    84%. This has been going around for a while. It would be interesting to test liberals and conservatives simultaneously and compare the answers.

  7. A PW County Resident said on 20 Dec 2008 at 10:06 am:
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    93.94 %

  8. Harry said on 20 Dec 2008 at 10:31 am:
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  9. Bob said on 20 Dec 2008 at 12:47 pm:
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    I missed #8 - I didn’t know what Roosevelt had said, and I guessed wrong. 96.97% as I recall.

  10. Chicko said on 20 Dec 2008 at 1:58 pm:
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    88 percent but I shot from the hip on few and really didnt read the given answers. Oh well, better than the average at least :)

  11. Anchor Baby said on 20 Dec 2008 at 2:36 pm:
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    Here are the ones I got wrong.

    Question #7 - D. Gettysburg Address
    Question #13 - E. certain permanent moral and political truths are accessible to human reason
    Question #14 - B. stressed the sinfulness of all humanity
    Question #15 - E. Thomas Jefferson’s letters
    Question #31 - A. an increase in a nation’s productivity
    Question #33 - D. tax per person equals government spending per person

  12. Not4Nothing said on 20 Dec 2008 at 4:49 pm:
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    93.94 %

  13. Emma said on 20 Dec 2008 at 5:01 pm:
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    90.91%. Number 30 confused me, and I didn’t agree with their answer (C).

  14. Anne said on 20 Dec 2008 at 5:13 pm:
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    “You answered 30 out of 33 correctly — 90.91 %”

  15. Anne said on 20 Dec 2008 at 5:15 pm:
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    P.S. Anchor Baby, don’t feel bad about the Gettysburg Address. You probably forgot the rest of the quote. “…shall not perish from the Earth.” They left out the part that is the tip-off.

  16. Dave said on 20 Dec 2008 at 5:39 pm:
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  17. Ted said on 20 Dec 2008 at 9:00 pm:
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    Now let’s have the folks over at “Not Larry Sabato” and other such sites take the quiz and compare scores.

    To which politician does the 44% refer to?

  18. Greg L said on 20 Dec 2008 at 9:41 pm:
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    The quiz was given to over two thousand people, about 150 of which held or had held elected office. After you take the quiz, there’s a link to the results.

  19. Bridget said on 21 Dec 2008 at 6:00 am:
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    Hey guys - providing answers is not cool. I scored 100% but, in truth, it was after reading the postings! Perhaps Greg could add a spoiler warning regarding the comments.

  20. ed said on 21 Dec 2008 at 11:52 am:
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    I disagree with the scoresheet on ..

    Question #33 - D. tax per person equals government spending per person

    A is the better answer. Government has tax revenue from many different sources (not just personal taxes) so deficit (not debt) is zero when taxes and expenses are equal.

  21. Anonymous said on 21 Dec 2008 at 2:14 pm:
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    I scored 100 percent and the scary thing is this test is not that difficult. some questions are a little tricky but in general any high school AP government student should ace this. I would certainly expect college graduates, regardless of major, to do the same. Don’t we have any common required courses in government anymore?

  22. Cerberus said on 21 Dec 2008 at 5:18 pm:
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    96.97 over here!

  23. PHenry said on 21 Dec 2008 at 8:48 pm:
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    Question #33 -D. tax per person equals government spending per person

    that implies to me that each person gets back exactly what he put in. We all know that some get far more, and some far less.

  24. Turn PW Blue said on 22 Dec 2008 at 7:13 am:
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    100% (See, not all liberals are civics idiots).

    ed- On #33, just because there is a balanced budget this year doesn’t mean there isn’t existing government debt. There is no DEFICIT. Debt and deficit are not the same thing (deficit spending leads to debt, but it is possible to have an outstanding debt while not currently holding a deficit)–as you point out at the end of your comment.

    The answer D is correct from a simple statistical point of view. The amount of tax revenue per person (i.e., all revenue divided by the population) is equal to spending per person (i.e., all spending divided by the population). Revenue source is irrelevant.

    Anonymous (2:14pm): I would hope that any high school government student (not just the AP students) would be able to pass and ace this. We do have required US government courses and many of these topics are covered multiple times between Kindergarten and 12th Grade.

  25. Rob Smalls said on 22 Dec 2008 at 9:46 am:
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  26. Harry C from Manassas said on 27 Dec 2008 at 7:35 pm:
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    96.97% - Missed #33 I chose answer A as well as a few others.

  27. John Light said on 2 Jan 2009 at 10:05 am:
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    You answered 27 out of 33 correctly — 81.82 %

    Average score for this quiz during January: 75.1%
    Average score: 75.1%

    Seems that I need to brush up on my reading - lol

  28. Kevin Bears said on 7 Oct 2009 at 11:55 pm:
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    You answered 30 out of 33 correctly — 90.91 %

    Well, it is 12:48 am and I was having to hold one eye closed to focus. I nodded out several times but was determined to finish the quiz before I went to bed.
    Hey I’m unemployed now; maybe I should run for Congress, it’s not looking too good out there for one at my age with a bad back.

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