Despite all the media coverage of the Supreme Court's big vote on the Affordable Care Act, a new Pew Research study shows that thirty percent of Americans don't know how the court voted and fifteen percent think it overturned the act.
The ignorance is spread evenly between Republicans and Democrats (25% don't know), though independents are slightly more in the dark (31% don't know). More Rs than Ds think the court overturned the act (19% vs. 11%), but maybe we can blame that on a combination of wishful thinking and exposure to Bill O'Reilly and the gang, who made incorrect predictions. (Surprise, surprise.)
(Plus, CNN and FOX made mistakes in their initial reporting, which might have confused people.)
The real spreads are due to age and education:
There are substantial age differences in news interest in the decision, as well as in awareness of what the court decided. Only about quarter of those younger than 30 (24%) followed news about the court’s health care decision very closely. That compares with 42% of those 30 to 49 and majorities of those 50 to 64 (56%) and 65 and older (62%).
Just 37% of those younger than 30 know that the court upheld most of the law’s provisions; majorities of older age groups know that the court upheld most provisions. Majorities of those who have attended college answered this correctly, compared with 44% of those with a high school education or less.
The study says the healthcare decision was the biggest, most closely followed story this June. (Second place: the US economy. Third place: the 2012 election.)
Apparently the country's "most closely followed story" wasn't followed all that closely.