A Sad Number of Americans Don't Give a Damn About Politics or the First Amendment

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Here's something you probably suspected: a big chunk of people would rather read about Katy Perry than Rick Perry and most people can't tell you what's in the First Amendment. A new Pew Research Center study found that 10 percent of Americans are completely disengaged from politics. And The First Amendment Center found that 30 percent of Americans can't name one single right protected by said amendment. 

According to Pew's Political Typology Report, 10 percent of Americans are political bystanders — they're not registered to vote, they don't follow government of public affairs issues closely, most of them have never donated to a political campaign and 64 percent would rather follow celebrity and entertainment news. People under 49, Hispanics and people with a high school education or less are over represented. Or, as The Washington Post noted, people who tend to vote for Democrats are overrepresented. Bystanders prefer Democrats, but tend to skew more conservative on issues like abortion (54 percent think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases). 

It's disappointing that one in 10 Americans don't care who wins the Senate this November, but most of the 90 percent who do follow politics can't name all five rights protected by the First Amendment. The First Amendment Center found that only 1 percent of those surveyed named the right to petition (you can ask the government to change). With the exception of the freedom of speech, most rights didn't fare well:

First Amendment Center.

The second most well known right is freedom of religion and 66 percent of respondents — as well as the Supreme Court — think that freedom should apply to corporations as well. At the same time, 61 percent of respondents think those same corporations should have to make wedding cakes for same-sex marriages.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.