Americans Poorly Informed on Deficit, Police Shootings, Health Insurance Coverage, Poll Shows

Americans had trouble picking the right answer on several politically salient topics, a poll of likely voters has shown. Supporters of President Joe Biden were wrong more often compared to those who disapproved of the president, though on no question did a majority of respondents answer correctly.

Less than one in five of those approving of Biden were within $10 trillion of guessing the current national debt. About two in five of those who disapproved of the president picked the closest answer ($20 trillion to $30 trillion), according to forthcoming results of the Rasmussen/Heartland Institute poll obtained by The Epoch Times.

The national debt stands at about $28 trillion as of mid-April.

When asked about the extent of health insurance coverage, only about 5 percent of Biden supporters picked the right answer—that less than 10 percent of Americans were uninsured in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. About 20 percent of Biden opponents chose correctly.

As of 2019, about 29 million Americans lacked health coverage, which was less than 9 percent of the population. The number rose to about 31 million in 2020, according to estimates by the Congressional Budgeting Office (CBO).

Asked about fatal police shootings of unarmed black men, less than one in four Biden supporters correctly answered less than 50 cases occurred last year. The exact number was 26, according to a tally kept by The Washington Post. About two thirds of those disapproving of Biden picked the right answer.

A majority of Biden opponents, however, overestimated how many white Americans were shot dead by police. Less than a third said it was under 50. The actual number was 37. About two in five Biden supporters answered correctly.

Most Biden opponents also underestimated how many rifle homicides occur each year in America. Only about one in five picked the right option of 100-500. While a majority of Biden supporters also got it wrong, fewer did, with about 30 percent giving the right answer.

When it came to what the top marginal income tax is, about one in four Biden supporters picked the right answer. Among those opposing Biden, close to 40 percent chose correctly.

The top tax bracket is currently 37 percent, down from over 39 percent before President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax reform.

People who picked CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, or CBS as their favorite cable or broadcast news source were less likely to choose the right answers than those picking Fox News or “another” network. People who said they were getting their news primarily from talk radio tended to be the most accurate, compared to people who identified cable news, network news, online and social media, or streaming services as their primary source. Those who said they use “a mix of services” as their primary source also fared comparatively well.

The poll was conducted between April 29 and May 3 among 2,000 likely voters by Rasmussen for The Heartland Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank. The pollster also asked about climate change, where the results showed Biden supporters being more pessimistic than establishment experts about the consequences of global warming.

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Petr Svab
Author: Petr Svab

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