Americans’ Knowledge of the U.S. Supreme Court

34 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2016

See all articles by John G. Bullock

John G. Bullock

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science

Kelly Rader

Yale University

Date Written: July 30, 2016

Abstract

Recent and influential research suggests that political scientists have sharply understated popular knowledge of the U.S. Supreme Court. This research implies that popular knowledge of other aspects of government has been understated as well. The implication may be correct. But these revisionist studies of political knowledge err in the other direction: they overstate popular knowledge of politics. Focusing on the Supreme Court, we use a series of national-sample experiments to show that inferences about popular knowledge of politics depend heavily on little-appreciated aspects of survey design and analysis. Accounting for these aspects of design and analysis suggests a level of knowledge in the polity that lies between the levels suggested by conventional and revisionist research.

Suggested Citation

Bullock, John G. and Rader, Kelly, Americans’ Knowledge of the U.S. Supreme Court (July 30, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2816598 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2816598

John G. Bullock

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

601 University Place (Scott Hall)
Evanston, IL 60201
United States

Kelly Rader (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

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