So, do you remember that time that the House passed a symbolic repeal of the Affordable Care Act, that didn't go anywhere, because Harry Reid is still the Senate Majority Leader and Barack Obama is still the President of the United States? Good times, right? Now, if you are aware of that vote, riddle me this: Are you left with the impression that the Affordable Care Act was actually repealed? If you answered "No," congratulations -- you are apparently in the smarter four-fifths of Americans.
Per KFF's Drew Altman:
How could a repeal "vote" in the House -- however dramatic but still, only symbolic -- be misunderstood as an actual repeal by so many Americans?
First, people are very busy just getting through the day and they don't have a lot of time to sort through news reports about the policymaking process. They see the word "repeal" in the local paper or hear it on TV and think the law has been repealed. Second, there may be some partisan wishful thinking going on; 30 percent of Republicans think the law has been repealed while only 12 percent of Democrats do. But overall, it is obvious that the knowledge of basic civics is pretty low. Maybe it's because "Schoolhouse Rock" is no longer airing on Saturday morning TV explaining how government works.
Here's a refresher. Let's recall that at one point in our nation's history, these were concepts that people expected small children to be able to grasp.
UPDATE: Here's more from Jonathan Bernstein, whose "Plain Blog About Politics" is a recommended add to your bookmarks/RSS.