A recent poll of 800 Americans found 58 percent could not name a single executive-branch Cabinet department.

The survey, conducted by the Polling Company Inc. of Washington, D.C., found 41 percent could name at least one agency, while just 4 percent could identify at least five. There are currently 19 Cabinet-level departments in the Bush administration.

The company’s poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. Last year, the firm conducted a similar poll, which found 64 percent of Americans could not name a single justice of the Supreme Court.

“These poll numbers would make any high-school civics teacher cringe,” said Kellyanne Conway, president and CEO of the polling company inc., in a statement.

“The differing levels of knowledge according to gender, race and age are astonishing. An incredible 70 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds failed to specify a single agency or department, and while a majority of men (52 percent) could name at least one, less than one-third of women (32 percent) could do the same.”

No respondent named all 19 departments correctly and just 1 percent was able to name at least 11, the company said.

Hispanics (79 percent), African-Americans (75 percent), and women (68 percent) were among the groups most likely to say “I don’t know” when asked to name at least one department within the current United States Cabinet.

The following are the percentages of various responses:

  • 58 percent did not know

  • 23 percent, Department of Defense
  • 14 percent, Department of Treasury
  • 13 percent, Department of State
  • 12 percent, Department of Homeland Security
  • 11 percent, Department of the Interior
  • 8 percent, Department of Agriculture
  • 8 percent, Department of Health and Human Services
  • 6 percent, Department of Commerce
  • 6 percent, Department of Justice
  • 6 percent, Department of Education
  • 6 percent, Department of Transportation

All other Cabinet-level departments were named by less than 5 percent of respondents.


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