DC Insiders Really Don’t Think Most Americans Know Very Much About Politics, Research Shows

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capitol-buildingWe’ve heard a lot about the divide between Washington elites and the rest of the country this election season. Just weeks from Election Day, a pair of Johns Hopkins political scientists are weighing in with new findings that show the gap is real.

Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg found that Washington insiders tend to think most Americans are uninformed, and have opinions that can be ignored. The gleaned the results from a 2013 study of 850 non-elected officials in Washington. They think it’s mostly a result of the fact that people who run America don’t live like most of the country.

“Official Washington is wealthier, whiter, and better educated than ordinary citizens,” the authors write, according to the JHU Hub. “It lives in its own inside-the-Beltway bubble, where Washingtonians converse with one another and rarely interact on an intellectual plane with Americans at large.”

For all that cultural difference, however, there’s not as much disagreement as the insiders think there is. In one of the key findings, about three-quarters of officials thought they disagreed with most Americans about key issues, but the actual number of officials who disagreed with general opinion was only 12 percent.

The findings will be out in a book published Tuesday called What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions about the American People.






Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Technical.ly Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.

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