Only 52% of Americans know the health care bill is law

It’s things like this that make you wonder what kind of a world half of Americans live in:

In a new Kaiser Health poll, just 52% of Americans knew that the health care reform bill signed into law by President Obama is still in place. Meanwhile, one fifth — 22% — of all Americans believe that the law has been overturned, while another 26% aren’t sure what’s up with the law.

At least those 22% of people who think healthcare reform is now off the books seem to be aware enough of events to have kind of figured out that republicans were against the legislation, and that maybe something happened in November that gave more power to the people who opposed ‘Obamacare’. As for the 26% who don’t know…

Look, the thing about any kind of poll like this one is that what it really shows is just how little attention the average American pays to news, and specifically news about politics. Fox News is the most popular news channel in the country, followed by MSNBC and CNN. Yet even ‘popular’ shows like The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity or Glenn Beck get surprisingly few viewers (781 thousand, 585 thousand and 572 thousand respectively, according to Nielsen). Compare those statistics to, say, the almost 30 million people who watch American Idol on a regular basis. Now, granted, more people watch network and local cable news. But their coverage of politics beyond the odd election or truly ground-breaking piece of legislation is minimal. As a result, most people in America have little to no idea what’s going on in their own country. It’s not because they’re stupid – it’s just that they’d rather watch something else than political coverage.


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