Cynical bastards might say "not much," but I'm actually impressed with these 2011 poll results dug up by Brian Resnick. Almost 40 percent of Americans can name the three branches of government, so that's something, right?
Other fun facts:
- A third of Americans could not name any of the branches of government. This suggests that brand sponsorship might help with things. People are quick to remember brand names, so surely more people would remember "the legislative branch" if it were called the NASCAR-Taco Bell Legislative Cirque Du Votee or some such.
- About 80 percent of Americans know the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the "Bill of Rights." Three percent answered "The Magna Carta," and about one percent said they were the "Contract With America," which is just creepy unless your poll sample included Newt Gingrich.
- A total of 42 percent of Americans can identify jury duty as being required only of U.S. citizens. A total of 18 percent said only U.S. citizens have to "obey the law," so maybe that's where some of the paranoia against immigrants comes into play? ("Look out, he's an immigrant! He can murder you and print his own money!")
Happy Anniversary, Constitution. Hope you don't spend the next 225 still riding around in a crazy person's pocket.