They decide all the elections

A nice illustration of Bryan Caplan's thesis.

Elections are decided by numbers, and the ignorant outnumber the knowledgeable, so the ignorant decide the outcome. This casts an odd light on the lengthy and detailed explanations by the hyper-informed as to why they voted the way they did. A single person only gets one vote, so it is hardly of earth-shattering importance how they voted, let alone why. Sure, a single voter's explanation may be of interest as a microcosm of what tens of millions of people were thinking. Were that only so! Alas, a writer informed enough to give a decent explanation of their vote does not represent the masses who actually decide an election.

But would the knowledgeable actually decide better than the ignorant? Knowledge can magnify error and bad judgment. People can use what they learn to reinforce their prejudices (e.g. confirmation bias).

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This is the reason I stay at

This is the reason I stay at home election day.

a little knowledge

Just as we are lucky that we do not get all the government we pay for, we are lucky that voters have no idea who or what they are voting for.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. If they had more knowledge, they would be more dangerous.

This is fascinating.

This is fascinating.

They should be conisistent

I don't think it was fair that they made a big deal out of the "I can see Russia from my house" when they completely rephrased Obama's statement about "spreading the wealth around," as well as Biden's statement about being tested like JFK.

Big deal, I watched the

Big deal, I watched the beginning, I would fail most of the questions and I don't think they are relevant. Why not ask people their reason to vote?
My reason to prefer McCain to Obama was to avoid a wave of enthusiasm for politics, period.

The video was a comparison

Big deal, I watched the beginning, I would fail most of the questions and I don't think they are relevant.

They are relevant to the question of what people know. I found it interesting - both because of what people don't know, and because of what they do know.

By the end we had a clear picture both of the media coverage (both what was not, and also what was well-covered) and of its effect on the voters. I myself barely watch the media, so I found it eye-opening, both because it revealed how little the voters know, and also because it revealed what people did knew (certain things they all knew, and certain things they did not).

I would fail most of the questions

I got all 12 questions right. I learned something here about what to expect from an average voter.

Why not ask people their reason to vote?

Because they weren't trying to find that out in this particular poll, they were trying to find out whether people knew certain things. Howard Stern did something similar: his interviewer switched the positions of McCain and Obama, and either very few or none of the interviewees caught on. They agreed vigorously with all of McCain's positions when the positions were presented as Obama's positions. So from Howard Stern we learned that people are not familiar with the platforms of the candidates.

These are interesting and illuminating vidoes. A bit like the one showing that the French think le soleil orbits the Earth. (The point of this one isn't the one guy, it's the stats on the answer the audience gave.)

Howard Stern interview was

Howard Stern interview was about the platform, which is infinitely more relevant than the questions asked in this interview.

The french game show video has been there for a while, some claim the public wanted to laugh at the expense of the guy by misguiding him, I for one think it mostly had to do with lack of understanding the word "orbit".

People are tremendously ignorant

I think the audience was simply ignorant. I don't think the French are especially ignorant - I think Americans are about as ignorant.

Howard Stern interview was about the platform, which is infinitely more relevant than the questions asked in this interview.

You need to fill in "relevant to what" when you say "relevant". What Howard Stern showed was that the platforms were decidedly not relevant to how these people voted - because, as they revealed, they did not know what those platforms were, nor did they (as it turns out) care what they were. They said they cared. They probably thought they cared. But it really did not matter.

Now, I will grant you that a politician's platform is relevant to how he will govern. Maybe it is relevant to how people ought to vote - which is presumably what you have in mind here. But the interview showed that it was not relevant to who the interviewees actually supported.

If you just say "relevant" you haven't really said anything. Relevance is a relationship, not an absolute quality.

Depending on where your particular interests lie, these videos may or not be relevant to your interests.

Finally, the irrelevance of the cost of Palin's wardrobe to how well she and McCain would govern, and the fact that everyone nevertheless knew about it, gives us an insight into the choices made by the press. I already had the impression that the press did everything humanly possible to attempt to discredit Palin and undermine McCain by uncovering one after another bogus "scandal". But the impression was indirect, inferred from bloggers discussing it. The Zogby poll gives me a much better handle the actual degree to which the press did this - and to which it succeeded in spreading the word on this supposed scandal.

Knowledge can magnify error

Knowledge can magnify error and bad judgment.

That is a very good point.

Case in point, the McCain

Case in point, the McCain voters in general are JUST AS IGNORANT.