Phil over at The Clue Batting Cage *plug plug* linked to an online news quiz. It’s short with just a dozen questions by the Pew Research Center, so it shouldn’t take you long.


I got a score of 12 out of 12. Does that make me super smart? Heck, no. But I will say that I don’t get my news from either the TV or print. I get my news from the radio and online. Make of that what you will.

12 out of 12

They published a breakdown of the twelve questions that’s worth reading. I found the breakdown of correct answers between Republicans and Democrats to be interesting. (I have blanked out the answers. No peeking.)

Republican/Democrat differences

10 out of 12 questions were answered better by Republicans, and one question was a tie. In only one question did Democrats answer better than Republicans. So if we take this small sampling and project it to the leadership in Washington, which party has a better grasp on reality?

Recently I found two fun quizzes that are well worth taking. The first, which is only 12 questions long, tests how well you keep up with current news. You can find the Pew Research Center’s news IQ quiz here. I got all 12 questions right, but I try to follow the news. And I’m fairly atypical because I don’t watch the news on TV. I sometimes get my news on the radio, but the vast majority of the time I get my news from online sources, both national and international sites. Because I read and hear my news more than I watch it, I have noticed that I don’t often recognize political pundits when they appear on TV. But I can live with that.

The second quiz also comes from the Pew Research Center. This quiz, which dates from 2005, has 25 questions to determine your political stance. It separates differing test results into nine different political personality types. Based on this quiz, I come up as part of the Enterprisers group. According to the profile of types, “Enterprisers follow news about government and politics more closely than any other group, and exhibit the most knowledge about world affairs.” That would explain why I aced the first quiz.

So, how did you do with the quizzes?

I don’t base my choice of political candidates based on a quiz on the Internet, but sometimes they are fun to take. I saw a link to a political quiz on, and I decided to go along. Here are my results.

Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Your Result: Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts, where he was known as a centrist. He reformed the state healthcare system, and would pursue reforms at the national level as well. Romney supports oil drilling in Alaska, but also alternative energy sources. He claims to be conservative on issues like abortion and gay civil unions, and he supports the Iraq war. Romney supports fair trade, as well as a greater focus on math and science in our schools.

Ron Paul
John McCain
Rudy Guiliani
John Edwards
Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton
Dennis Kucinich
Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Take More Quizzes

It just so happens that at this point, I’m leaning more towards Mitt Romney because of his positions and comments than any of the others, but I’m still not completely won over by anyone. I did noticed that Fred Thompson is not in the list, and I have no idea how the questions are measured, so this is far from scientific. I file it along with other “gee whiz” type of activities. Feel free to take it, too. I do find it funny that I have no matching positions with the four Democrat candidates.

Since anyone can create a quiz without showing the logic behind the score, the quality of the quizzes do varies. I took several quizzes for fun. You can try these three:

In order, I got 100%, the West, and 100%, not that the scores are all that important. But the American accent test appears to have mapped nicely to another one I took.

Here is part three of the American History test given to “elite” college seniors at the University of Connecticut. See how well you do with these twelve questions. Click and drag your mouse over the gray to see the answer.


23) What was the source of the following phrase: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”?

  1. The speech: “I have a Dream”
  2. Declaration of Independence
  3. U.S. Constitution
  4. Gettysburg Address

Answer: - d -

24) Who was the second president of the United States?

  1. Thomas Jefferson
  2. James Madison
  3. John Adams
  4. Benjamin Franklin

Answer: - c -

25) Who was president when the U.S. purchased the Panama Canal?

  1. Theodore Roosevelt
  2. Jimmy Carter
  3. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  4. Woodrow Wilson

Answer: - a -

26) Who was the leading advocate for the U.S. entry into the League of Nations?

  1. George C. Marshall
  2. Woodrow Wilson
  3. Henry Cabot Lodge
  4. Eleanor Roosevelt

Answer: - b -

27) Who said, “Speak softly but carry a big stick”?

  1. William T. Sherman
  2. Sitting Bull
  3. John D. Rockefeller
  4. Theodore Roosevelt

Answer: - d -

28) The Battle of the Bulge occurred during:

  1. The Vietnam War
  2. World War I
  3. World War II
  4. The Civil War

Answer: - c -

29) Which of the following was a prominent leader of the Abolitionist Movement?

  1. Malcolm X
  2. Martin Luther King Jr.
  3. W.E.B. Du Bois
  4. Frederick Douglas

Answer: - d -

30) Who was the president of the United States at the beginning of the Korean War?

  1. John F. Kennedy
  2. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  3. Dwight Eisenhower
  4. Harry Truman

Answer: - d -

31) When the United States entered World War II, which two major nations were allied with Germany?

  1. Italy and Japan
  2. Italy and Portugal
  3. Italy and Russia
  4. Russia and Japan

Answer: - a -

32) Social legislation passed under President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society Program included:

  1. The Sherman Antitrust Act
  2. The Voting Rights Act
  3. The Tennessee Valley Authority
  4. The Civilian Conservation Corps

Answer: - b -

33) Who was “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen”?

  1. George Washington
  2. Woodrow Wilson
  3. Dwight Eisenhower
  4. Abraham Lincoln

Answer: - a -

34) Who as the leader of the Soviet Union when the United States entered the Second World War?

  1. Peter Ustinov (You-stin-off)
  2. Nikita Krushchev (CRUZ-chev)
  3. Marshal Tito
  4. Joseph Stalin

Answer: - d -

So how did you do? Here is the breakdown of grades:

  1. 31-34
  2. 28-30
  3. 24-27
  4. 21-23
  5. 0-20

If you didn’t do too well on this test, don’t feel too bad. The “elite” college seniors at the University of Connecticut did a really poor job. Of the seniors quizzed, 81% got either a D or an F. So what does that tell us about the state of our public education system?

Here is part two of the American History test given to “elite” college seniors at the University of Connecticut. See how well you do with these eleven questions. Click and drag your mouse over the gray to see the answer.


12) When was Thomas Jefferson president?

  1. 1780-1800
  2. 1800-1820
  3. 1820-1840
  4. 1840-1860
  5. 1860-1880

Answer: - b -

13) What was the lowest point in American fortunes in the Revolutionary War?

  1. Saratoga
  2. Bunker Hill
  3. Valley Forge
  4. Fort Ticonderoga

Answer: - c -

14) In his Farewell Address, President George Washington warned against the dangers of:

  1. Expanding into territories beyond the Appalachian Mountains
  2. Having war with Spain over Mexico
  3. Entering into permanent alliances with foreign governments
  4. Building a standing army and strong navy

Answer: - c -

15) The Monroe Doctrine declared that:

  1. The American blockade of Cuba was in accord with international law
  2. Europe should not acquire new territories in the Western Hemisphere
  3. Trade with China should be open to all Western nations
  4. The annexation of the Philippines was legitimate

Answer: - b -

16) Who was the European who traveled in the United States and wrote down perceptive comments about what he saw in Democracy in America?

  1. Lafayette
  2. Tocqueville (TOKE-ville)
  3. Crevecoeur (cre-VA-see-aire)
  4. Napoleon

Answer: - b -

17) Identify Snoop Doggy Dog.

  1. A rap singer
  2. Cartoon by Charles Schultz
  3. A mystery series
  4. A jazz pianist

Answer: - a -

18) Abraham Lincoln was president between:

  1. 1780-1800
  2. 1800-1820
  3. 1820-1840
  4. 1840-1860
  5. 1860-1880

Answer: - e -

19) Who was the American general at Yorktown?

  1. William T. Sherman
  2. Ulysses S. Grant
  3. Douglas MacArthur
  4. George Washington

Answer: - d -

20) John Marshall was the author of:

  1. Roe vs. Wade
  2. Dred Scott vs. Kansas
  3. Marbury vs. Madison
  4. Brown vs. Board of Education

Answer: - c -

21) Who was the “Father of the Constitution”?

  1. George Washington
  2. Thomas Jefferson
  3.  Benjamin Franklin
  4. James Madison

Answer: - d -

22) Who said, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country”?

  1. John F. Kennedy
  2. Benedict Arnold
  3. John Brown
  4. Nathan Hale

Answer: - d -

I don’t know where I got this set of questions, but I decided to post them here. These 34 questions were crafted by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and posed to “elite college seniors” at the University of Connecticut. Of the students asked, 81% scored either a D or an F. I’ll post eleven questions today, eleven more tomorrow, and then the final twelve. See how well you compare with these college seniors.  The answers will be below the questions in gray.


1) When was the Civil War?

  1. 1750-1800
  2. 1800-1850
  3. 1850-1900
  4. 1900-1950
  5. After 1950

Answer: - c -

2) Who said “Give me liberty or give me death”?

  1. John Handcock
  2. James Madison
  3. Patrick Henry
  4. Samuel Adams

Answer: - c -

3. What is the Magna Carta?

  1. The foundation of the British parliamentary system
  2. The Great Seal of the monarchs of England
  3. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man
  4. The charter signed by the Pilgrims on the Mayflower.

Answer: - a -

4) The term “Reconstruction” refers to:

  1. Payment of European countries’ debt to the United States after the First World War
  2. Repairing of the physical damage caused by the Civil War
  3. Readmission of the Confederate states and the protection of the rights of Black citizens
  4. Rebuilding of the transcontinental railroad and the canal system

Answer: - c -

5) Beavis and  Butthead are…

  1. A radio show
  2. Television cartoon characters
  3. A musical group
  4. Fictional solders

Answer: - b -

6) The Scopes Trial was about:

  1. Freedom of the press
  2. Teaching evolution in the schools
  3. Prayer in the schools
  4. Education in private schools

Answer: - b -

7) The Emancipation Proclamation issued by Lincoln stated that:

  1. Slaves were free in areas of the Confederate states not held by the Union
  2. The slave trade was illegal
  3. Slaves who fled to Canada would be protected
  4. Slavery was abolished in the Union

Answer: - a -

8) The purpose of the authors of “The Federalist” papers was to:

  1. Establish a strong, free press in the colonies
  2. Confirm George Washington’s election as the first president
  3. Win foreign approval for the Revolutionary Army
  4. Gain ratification of the U.S. Constitution

Answer: - d -

9) Sputnik was the name given to the first

  1. Telecommunication system
  2. Animal to travel in space
  3. Hydrogen bomb
  4. Man-made satellite

Answer: - d -

10) The Missouri Compromise was the act that:

  1. Funded the Lewis and Clark expedition on the upper Missouri River
  2. Granted statehood to Missouri but denied the admission of any other states
  3. Settled the boundary dispute between Missouri and Kansas
  4. Admitted Maine into the Union as a free state and Missouri as a slave state

Answer: - d -

11) Which document established the division of powers between the states and
the federal government?

  1. The Marshall Plan
  2. The Constitution
  3. The Declaration of Independence
  4. The Articles of Confederation

Answer: - b -

OK, boys and girls, it’s time to test your Constitution knowledge! Go to and take the quiz.

I got a score of 9 out of 10, making me a “Constitution Whiz Kid.” If you have taken the quiz, drag your mouse over the next bit of text to see what question I missed:

[I missed question #6 about George Washington's Vice President. I'd call this more of a history question, not a Constitution question.]

So, what was your score? Be honest.

OK, quick link to an American Dialect test. Answer the questions and see what kind of American English you speak. I scored the following:

Your Linguistic Profile:

80% General American English
15% Upper Midwestern
5% Midwestern
0% Dixie
0% Yankee

I guess the six years in North Dakota were a bigger influence than the year each in Alabama and Florida. How do you score?