In 1789, Thomas Jefferson wrote that, “Wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government.”
Abused by the media nearly as much as President Trump himself, Trump’s supporters have withstood constant attacks on their character, patriotism, intelligence, and more. The message from the media elite is clear, “If you don’t think and vote the exact way we demand, you are not informed.” However, what does informed mean here in this context? And does informed mean the same as Thomas Jefferson meant it in 1789?
The difference between Jefferson’s use of the word informed and the media’s is the difference between fact and opinion. Regardless of how popular certain political opinions are in Hollywood, knowledge of how our democratic republic works to deliver self-government is the most important foundation of being civically informed. Certainly, there are degrees to which political ideas can be right or wrong, but these are fiercely debated, and very rarely concrete or clear.
For example, while the medial elite can (and do) argue that socialism is working for Venezuela, or that tax-and-spend policies are working for Zimbabwe, knowledge of the specific structure of our U.S. government is unambiguous and clear. Voters that know how government works are informed in the most important and foundational way that citizens must be. For example – a fact: On November 8th, Americans didn’t just vote for President, they also voted to elect a Representative – their elected official in the House of Representatives in Washington, DC. This is done every two years.
A recent poll by Haven Insights shows that Trump voters have a distinct and consistent edge in civic knowledge over their Hillary supporting and 3rd party supporting counterparts. In stark contrast to the media narrative, Trump supporters are not only more informed than the general public, but also more than their political rivals.
- Trump voters were more likely to know the name of their U.S. Representative than Hillary supporters (45% to 38%).
- While 66% of the public know that their U.S. Representative is up for election 2 years, slightly more (68%) of Trump voters knew this simple fact. However, as embarrassing as it is, Hillary supporters performed the worst in this simple question (65%)!
- A shocking 23% of the public voted for their U.S. representative without even knowing their Representative’s name. However, Trump voters – educated and civically responsible –were the most likely to walk into the voting booth informed and knowing the name of their elected representatives. Hillary supporters performed the worst.
- Embarrassingly, nearly a third of liberals (30%) went to the voting booth having no clue who their U.S. Representative was – while only 21% of conservatives had a similar struggle in the voting booth.
Trump voters consistently had the edge over both the general population, and their political opponents in basic civic knowledge – who their Representative was, what party they belonged to, and if they were even on the ballot.
The Trump Edge
It isn’t enough to just go out and go through the motions of voting – voters have to have a baseline understanding of who and what exactly they are voting for. Trump supporters systematically outperformed everyone in knowledge of their Representative.
The real-world result of this knowledge edge was that Trump supporters and conservatives succeeded in specifically delivering their support to conservatives and Republicans in key narrow races across the nation. One example is in Maine, where Rep. Bruce Poliquin, soundly beat his opponent – a well funded disciple of Nancy Pelosi named Emily Cain.
As Tea Party Leader, Matt Kibbe, famously declared, “Government goes to those who show up.” Trump supporters simply know more about their government than any other slice of the electorate. This allowed them to make their opinions heard, even over and above the scorn and abuse heaped upon them by the media.
You can follow Haven Insights on Twitter HERE.