Politico published a story two days ago (approx. half a decade in POLITICO time) questioning how well informed voters are. WaPo‘s Erik Wemple didn’t find the analysis to be very smart.
The story, written by Alexander Burns and headlined “How much do voters know?,” was accompanied by a large photo of the famously slow, awkward character Forrest Gump. It reads: “It’s entirely questionable whether the great mass of voters has even the most basic grasp of the details … of the national political debate.”
John Harris, Editor in Chief of Politico, said on a broadcast of Politico Live last night that he had commissioned the story, asking Burns to look “at the question of whether voters are stupid,” adding “And a lot of the things [voters] say in these [polls] are just plain stupid.”
Wemple said on his blog today of Harris’ comments, “[He] says ‘stupid’ so many times that he begins to sound that way,” and he sarcastically described the use of Gump in the Politico story as a “stroke of pop culture genius…” Finally, Wemple included a graph in his post showing that more voters today have a college degree than ever before, writing, “Perhaps a smarter take on ignorant voters would have focused on the fact that they’re more educated than ever.”
Of course, a college degree isn’t necessarily the only indicator of how well-informed a voter is on current issues but we get Wemple’s point.