Wednesday, October 10, 2012

NonPartisan Quiz on U.S. Government for American Voters

Radio/TV personality Howard Stern recently shared some man-on-the-street interviews of American voters who seemed “clueless” (his chosen word) about U.S. Government. Whether it’s Letterman, Leno or someone else posing the questions, we’ve seen these often around election time, where people can’t name the Vice-President, or recognize politicians' photos, etc. It’s heartbreaking to see how uninformed our citizens are.

It's surprising that the usually liberal Stern targets only President Obama’s supporters in the video. We can be sure that clueless Americans exist on all sides of issues and parties...and many will enter the voting booth in less than a month.

So here’s a nonpartisan Quiz you can take to see how much you know about U.S. Government before voting on November 6 (no peeking at answers below first!):

1. Name the three branches of U.S. Government.

2. Who is President Obama’s Vice-President? If anything happened to both of them, what position is next in line as President, and who currently holds that position?

3. Providing “checks and balances” in our government is:
    a. the job of the U.S. Treasury.
    b. the job of the Supreme Court.
    c. the reason we have three branches of government.

4. True or False: The Declaration of Independence starts out: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union…”

5. True or False: The Constitution and The Bill of Rights are two separate documents.

6. Name the first three presidents of the United States, and the 16th president.

Okay– we’re going to get a little harder now:

7. Name at least 5 of the 15 Cabinet Departments and which branch of government they’re in.

8. Which Constitutional Amendment gave women the right to vote, and which guarantees religious freedom?

9. Who is the current Senate Majority Leader, and what Party is he/she from?

10. Who is the current House Majority Leader, and what Party is he/she from?

11. True or False: Susan Rice was George W. Bush’s Secretary of State.

12. What is the Dodd-Frank Act, which was mentioned often in the 2012 primary debates and is now being debated between Romney & Obama?

13. What is “The Electoral College”?
     a. Elective courses at any university or college.
     b. A group of college graduates that studies elections.
     c. A representative body of U.S. citizens from each state.

14. Name the last three Presidents to have terms within the Twentieth Century.


1. Executive, legislative and judicial.

2. Joseph Biden is VP.; Next in line is Speaker of the House, currently John Boehner.

3. (c) the reason we have 3 branches of government.

4. False: That’s the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence starts out: “When, in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…”

5. Not exactly. The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first Ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

6. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson; and Abraham Lincoln was the 16th.

7. Dept. of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health & Human Services, Housing& Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security. All these departments make up the “Cabinet” and are in the Executive Branch with the President and Vice President.

8. Nineteenth Amendment and First Amendment.

9. Harry Reid, Democrat.

10. Eric Cantor, Republican.

11. False. Condoleeza Rice was George W. Bush’s Secretary of State. Susan Rice (no relation) is President Obama’s Ambassador to the United Nations.

12. Dodd-Frank is the Congressional Bill created by Congressman Barney Frank (D, MA) and Senator Chris Dodd (D, CT) that increased the number of restrictions on banks, financial institutions and related businesses after the collapse of Wall Street in the fall of 2008.

13. (c) a representative voting body of U.S. citizens from each state who elect the President and V.P. running mate on behalf of American voters. When we vote for a presidential team, that vote gets thrown behind the state’s “electoral representatives.” It’s often debated around elections whether giving more electorate votes to bigger states is really fair and representative of the entire population.

14. Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, William Clinton (his second term started in the 20th and extended into the 21st century).

How did you do? If you got 12-14 answers right, you’re an American Voting Superstar. For 9-11, you may be a little disappointed in your knowledge and be self-motivated to improve. For 7-8, please brush up by doing some research. For 6 or under, please take a formal course in U.S. Government before ever voting again!

Can you identify photos of America's highest officials? If you think so, go to this Politicians' Photo Quiz for American Voters.


quietspirit October 10, 2012 at 6:50 PM  

This is interesting. I am embarrassed to tell my score. I am so rusty in this area.

Sheryl, author of post October 10, 2012 at 8:27 PM  

Don't be embarassed! Be motivated to brush up. Thanks for reading!

micheal October 10, 2012 at 10:04 PM  

I missed 9 and 10, and I knew the Speaker was next, but not who it was... not too shabby for a guy who gets all his political news from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert! :)

Sheryl Young October 11, 2012 at 4:14 AM  

Thanks for reading, Micheal! Please start watching FOX. Some of the shows really do give "both sides" of the news and news you won't hear anywhere else.

Matt Gerwitz October 13, 2012 at 4:08 AM  

Sheryl, I got them all except 8a. But just as a comment -- you know my position if you've read my presidential papers -- I'm really uneasy about the term "checks and balances." The way the Constitution frames it, it's more of separation of powers and limited jurisdictions. A point of fine distinction, I know, but one that's been misunderstood and is partially to blame for DC's folly. Blessings!

Sheryl, author of post October 13, 2012 at 8:35 AM  

Thanks, Matt! I feel the same way about checks and balances. It's part of why nothing gets done these days, although it didn't start out that way...every branch negates the other!

Post a Comment

Ms. Young regrets she can no longer accept Anonymous comments at this blogsite, due to incidents of extreme spamming.

20-20 Faith Sight © 2009-2011 Sheryl Young. Template by, Optimized by, Concept and design by April Lorier.