One week has passed since the highly publicized Supreme Court decision, and the issue of health care remains one of the most talked about and analyzed topics in the media. Is it a tax, is it a penalty, can Eric Fehrnstrom catch a break?
Yet, all of the talk is to be expected of such an important ruling, not only in terms of November’s election but also for what it means for the American people and their health care.
According to the latest Pew Research Center poll on the Supreme Court decision, however, many Americans have eluded the tweets, news broadcasts, articles and basic water cooler talk — a sobering look into the reality that a great deal of Americans are simply not following the news.
When asked the outcome of the Supreme Court decision, 45% of the respondents answered that they either didn’t know how the court had ruled (30%) or believed that the court had rejected major provisions of the health care law (15%).
Sure, you can argue that I’m being too cynical here when the “glass-half-full view” is that 55% of those surveyed were aware of the Supreme Court’s decision, but with the amount of publicity surrounding this decision, 45% is a staggering number.
Breaking down that 45% doesn’t bode well for the youth of America, either. Among those 18- to 29-year-olds who were instrumental in sweeping a then-less-gray-looking Barack Obama into office in 2008, 43% were unaware of the Supreme Court’s decision and another 20% falsely believe that the Supreme Court rejected the law.
Is it too naïve of me to hope that 20% made the same mistake as CNN and Fox News, forgetting that there is more to the decision than the first page? Probably.
This means that about two out of three young people remain misinformed about the health care decision.
That’s scary, folks.
Scary because these young people will presumably be voting come November and when it comes to the voter, ignorance isn’t bliss. No, ignorance is, well, ignorance.
The ignorant voter, young or old, is more susceptible to those devious negative campaign ads that often present gross distortions (imagine that!). As The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza writes, “Most people — especially those who are unaffiliated or independent voters — tend to be relatively low information voters. That is, they don’t have all the facts on an issue — and they don’t really care to find them out.”
That’s what’s so frustrating, though. Many voters don’t have the information and they don’t care to understand the truth — and it’s not anything new.
So, friends, especially my young friends, take these poll numbers as a rather rude awakening and make yourself a promise. To avoid merely flipping a coin to decide your vote for the next president, read up on issues on which you remain uncertain and become a more informed voter.
Believe me, it’s fun — and most importantly, you can avoid inclusion in John Oliver’s “stupid vote.”
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