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New study finds economic illiteracy correlates with political preferences

New study finds economic illiteracy correlates with political preferences

It’s time to move beyond just demographics.

A new study commissioned by Independent Women’s Voice reveals that it may be not surface-level stats that can predict voter behavior, but who they are. Their study found that voters’ exposure to facts about the economy can dramatically influence their political preferences.

The research, which was conducted in Colorado, first tested voters’ awareness of several basic economic facts. Then, after an education campaign exposed them to information about the economy over a 10-day period, they tested again. The results are fascinating.

First, voters who identified facts presented to them as true were more likely to support Romney; those who identified the facts as false were more likely to support Obama. While it could be that many of these voters view economic questions as solely the area of one political party already, it is clear that awareness of these facts correlates with support for one candidate.

Further, the information campaign conducted by IWV appears both to have been able to successfully educate voters on economic facts, but also to change preferences for candidates following the path established in their research. IWV’s vice president for policy Carrie Lukas writes at Forbes:

While voters were gaining an education on these core economic facts, voters’ preferences for candidates also shifted. Initially, Mitt Romney led President Obama among those surveyed by 2 percentage points. After IWF’s educational messaging, IWV found that Gov. Romney’s lead had increased by 8 percentage points among those who had received the educational information compared to a 2 point increase among the control group that had not.

Lukas concludes, “it turns out that what you know may be a better predictor than who you are when it comes to policy and political preferences.” As political research moves from the surface-level demographics to a more voter-centric model, methods that elicit deeper insights will continue to produce higher-quality, actionable insights.


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Makes perfect sense. It’s called being informed. This is why Obama was elected. People who depend on the MSM were totally uninformed. It’s not just about economics. Anyone can have a rudimentary understanding of what’s expected of the president and Congress so they can make a valid decision. You don’t have to be a political guru. That’s why there’s no excuse for the mindless voting we’ve seen in the past. Even though voting is touted as a right we need to change that view to Voting is a privilege.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Benson II. | October 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I think the succinct take-away from this is that ignorance breeds ‘rat voters.

    And that was the plan. Look at forty years of leftist-controlled public education.

Conservatives who are old enough will fondly remember Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director, David Stockman, who took a meat ax to federal spending, and surely understands economics as well as anyone. See what he has to say about Mitt Romney’s qualifications to be President:

    Sanddog in reply to Ave. | October 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    So, I guess he’s not going to vote, right? Because for a hard core fiscal conservative, there is no ideologically pure enough candidate who could possibly get past the primary system for any party.

    legalizehazing in reply to Ave. | October 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    So, ron paul is what you’re saying

    blcartwright in reply to Ave. | October 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    The meat ax that saw fed spending increase average of 11.0% a yearin Reagan’s 1st term, 6.2% in his 2nd? I reckon that is lower than Carter’s 14.7%

I’m shocked, shocked to find that leftists are economic illiterates!

Anne ; That seems to correspond to my real world experiance. Most dems I come in contact with get their info from popular culture & comedians. I label it “contact stupid.” Sorry , I am being somewhat sarcastic. This study strikes me as a “no brainer.”

Just gonna take the ol’ wild-eyed guess here, but the more voters who believe that money grows on trees found somewhere deep inside the forest, the more likely your society will have voters who’ll vote in the Democrat who acts as a Great Pretender thinking he/she is “creating” wealth as he/she votes for “legislation” that is nothing more than a legalized theft from society’s actual wealth producers. Because legislation may be dressed up as a “law” doesn’t make it morally correct.

    Sanddog in reply to pfg. | October 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    The left does seem to believe there is a magical money tree just sitting in the forest waiting to be picked, time and time again.

    My state has three general obligation bonds on the ballot totaling over 140 million dollars. The supporters are out there telling the voters that voting for bonds doesn’t raise taxes… as if it were free money! If state revenues decrease, they don’t explain actions the state will have to take to pay the interest. I suspect all three measures will be passed with overwhelming majorities.

Jack The Ripper | October 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Are there any studies out there correlating political preferences with:

Financial Literacy?

Civics Literacy?

World Affairs Literacy?

Popular Culture Literacy?

Assessment of Relative Risks, such as sharks, lightning, earthquakes, genetically modified foods, cobalt radiation of food, DDT, winning the lottery, nuclear waste, alleged carcinogenic effects of various foods and pollutants?

I am not saying that I have all the answers or even a good many of them and I do not claim to be expert in any of the following, but its a pretty safe guess that most Americans do not know:

the difference between democracy and representative government

the true size of their paycheck prior to withholding

the total amount of taxes they pay each year whether federal, state, or local income, capital gains, sales, use, user fees, ad valorem home, ad valorem auto

the size of the World Economy

the size of the U.S. Economy

the net present value of unfunded entitlements

what percent of state budgets go to Medicare/Medicaid

the total and per capita amounts of wealth transfers

the total and per capita amounts of the federal deficit

the amount of student loans outstanding

the amount of credit card debt outstanding

the differences in the dischargability of the two in bankruptcy

how much energy we use

how much energy we import versus export (and from/to whom)

how much proven oil, gas and coal reserves we possess

the size of Alaska, ANWR, and the drilling footprint in ANWR

the average size of the typical coal-fired electric plant and how many square miles of solar panels or wind turbines it would take to replace just one average capacity electric plant

the size of Fannie Mae’s portfolio

the size of Freddic Mac’s portfolio

the size of the stock, bond, and foreign exchange markets


state constitutions

separation of powers

the powers granted to each branch in the U.S. Constitution and those reserved to the states

what the Commerce Clause means and where to find it

whether the body of the U.S. Constitution mentions welfare, as in general welfare

history (including what has and has not worked here and in other countries)

the population of various countries and U.S. States

how the electoral college works and why we have it

the contours and limits of the right to vote (which does not exist in federal elections unless a state decides to choose its electors and federal legislators via popular vote)

that Mexico has an official representative in Washington D.C., but the state of New Mexico does not (17th Amendment)

the size of the federal budget and state budgets

the difference between a tax inclusive tax rate and a tax exclusive tax rate

what would and would not happen if Roe v. Wade were flat out overturned

what would and would not happen if the U.S. Code eliminated all penalties and prohibitions regarding drugs/controlled substances

the difference between a profit and a profit margin

what percentages of Federal Income Taxes are paid by the top 1%, 5%, 10% and 20% of earners

how the alternative minimum tax works

income and social mobility

what the dependency ratio is and what it was when Social Security commenced and what it is projected to be

the difference between health insurance and a prepaid health insurance plan

and what decade the Civil War took place and/or which states were on which side of the Civil War and whether it really was a civil war or a war of succession.

what would happen if the electoral college tied at 269 to 269

how many Supreme Court Justices have been appointed by Republican Presidents and Democrat Presidents since Roe v. Wade

This is no accident. See, Gatto, John Taylor, Underground History of American Education, and the movie Waiting for Superman.
The powers that be wanted to educate the populace only well enough to be good laborers and workers under Taylorite Management, but not well enough to defy their all-knowing leaders up on high, such as Elizabeth Warren.
In fact, given the history of civil rights and educational inequalities in this country, it is nothing less than astonishing that black Americans support the Democrat Party, which is in bed with teachers’ unions and the sorry state of many public schools, especially inner city/urban schools. You would think that after fighting for equal education in Sweatt v. Painter and Brown v. Board of Education, blacks would not abide our public education system, and yet there is hardly a peep from most prominent black political leaders and certainly no groundswell. [The same way that NOW did not stand up for Bill Clinton’s accusers and Gloria Allred went after Meg Whitman, one of the most successful businesswomen in the world, in favor of Jerry Brown, who, well, the less said, the better].

Jack The Ripper | October 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I forgot to include:

excise taxes

national wealth

global wealth

wealth distribution by age of household head in the United States

which congressional districts have the median incomes, median home values, and education levels

how gerrymandering works

how the Census works

what a President can and cannot do regarding abortion and contraceptives (the answer is, very little)

Jack The Ripper | October 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Oh, and which states had the largest Ku Klux Klan membership

and the real purpose of the Davis-Bacon Act.

great unknown | October 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm

This certainly explains why current students, and recent victims, of “higher education” tend to be liberal/Democrat.


You’re either curious, or you’re not.

You either have common sense, or you don’t.

You either have a sense of right and wrong, or you don’t.

You either give a sh!t, or you don’t.

Expand the demographic box all you want–it’s still a box.

Well, now we have proof that the infamous “low information voter” is code for Democrat.

Like everyone didn’t already know…..

Between schools being hotbeds of athletic excellence and bastions of leftist thinking, it is a wonder we produce any students of excellence. We do because we still have hardworking parents who care about excellence.

Too many schools retain high school coaches. The quality of teaching isn’t as important as winning.

Teacher colleges want to promote a socialist agenda, and filter teachers in that direction.

The rush to push “everybody to college” means diluted quality and standards on the high schools. I blame this on the Supreme Court decision, codified into law in the first Bush administration, preventing employers from testing potential employees with a test. So employers use credentials to screen. The affirmative action case in front of the Supreme Court is huge.

Proof the democrat/news media/entertainment/education/union/government complex was no accident.

BASIC ECONOMICS by Dr.Thomas Sowell..(Basic Books, 2007)

Baa-Daa-Bing. Like Dat.