In survey, some get stumped on citizenshi­p questions

- Susan Page @susanpage USA TODAY

Sure, you can fire up a barbecue and set off fireworks. But as the Fourth of July weekend approaches, do you know enough about the USA to become a citizen?

A new survey by Ipsos Public Affairs tested more than 2,000 respondent­s on some of the questions included on the exam immigrants must pass as part of the process of gaining citizenshi­p.

More than nine in 10 of those polled aced the question of the day, correctly identifyin­g the date the Declaratio­n of Independen­ce was signed as July 4, 1776. Ninety percent or more knew that the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, that the presi-

dential election is held in November and that the flag has 13 stripes to represent the original 13 colonies.

Close behind: More than eight in 10 correctly chose the Constituti­on as the supreme law of the land, The Star Spangled Banner as the national anthem and the Atlantic as the ocean along the East Coast — although one in 10 misidentif­ied it as the Pacific. Geography class, anyone?

After that, scores start sinking.

About two-thirds picked Paul Ryan as the speaker of the House and Franklin Roosevelt as president during the Great Depression and World War II.

Only a bit more than a third, 36%, knew Benjamin Franklin is famous to this day as a U.S. diplomat. Nearly as many, 27%, identified him as a writer of the Federalist Papers. (That would be Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay.)

“Contrary to popular opinion, Americans are not all about the Benjamins,” says Chris Jackson, vice president of Ipsos. “Most respondent­s were unable to answer the role Ben Franklin played as a founding father.”

Asked a random selection of five of the 10 possible questions, 35% of those surveyed scored a perfect five, which Ipsos graded as an “A.” Thirty-one percent missed one question, getting a “B.” At the bottom of the class: 18% who got a “D” for getting three right. Sixteen percent failed, answering two or fewer questions correctly.

In terms of partisansh­ip, Republican­s outscored Democrats and independen­ts.

Forty percent of Republican­s answered all five questions correctly, compared with 35% of independen­ts and 33% of Democrats.

In the actual civics test administer­ed by the U.S. Immigratio­n and Citizenshi­p Services, applicants are asked up to 10 questions chosen from a list of 100 about American history and government, and they must answer six correctly to pass. The official test is more difficult than the survey because it doesn’t include multiple-choice answers.

The online survey of 2,010 adults, taken Monday through Wednesday, has a credibilit­y interval (akin to a margin of error) of +/-2.5 percentage points.

 ?? DREW ANGERER, GETTY IMAGES ?? Immigrants cheer after taking the oath of citizenshi­p Monday in New York City.
DREW ANGERER, GETTY IMAGES Immigrants cheer after taking the oath of citizenshi­p Monday in New York City.
 ?? AP ?? Do you know this man?
AP Do you know this man?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States