Are You Smarter About the U.S. Than a New Immigrant?

A recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll of eligible voters showed that only 39 percent of those polled could correctly name the vice president of the United States (for those of you in the 39 percent, it’s Joe Biden). I suspect that right about now, President Obama might like it if more people were totally unaware of Biden. But still, that’s a pretty sad stat.

The good news is that the poll focused on those dummies who said that they aren’t likely to vote in November. The bad news is that there are plenty of even bigger dummies out there who are quite eager to vote — and are totally convinced that they are very well informed. Like the 33 percent of Republicans who, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, believe that Obama was foreign born (he wasn’t), or the 17 percent who, despite all the kerfuffle over the Christian church Obama attended for 20 years, believe Obama is Muslim (he’s not), or the 54 percent who expressed concern that the healthcare reform bill represented a government takeover of medicine. (It isn’t. In fact, the non-partisan fact checking organization Politifact rated that talking point as the “Lie of the Year.”)

Rich people and moronic right-wing bigots like Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby say they don’t want poor people to vote because the poor just don’t know enough about the issues or don’t care enough about property rights to be trusted to cast an informed vote. But what about all those relatively rich people who passionately believe things that simply aren’t true in the real world? What is the minimum amount of factual knowledge anyone should have before casting a vote? How about simply being able to pass the test that legal immigrants to this country must pass in order to be granted U.S. citizenship and the right to vote?

Below you will find 10 questions from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Naturalization civics test study tool. The real civics test is actually harder because it’s oral and not multiple choice. You need to get at least six questions correct to pass. Good luck, fellow citizens.


1. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

A) nine (9)

B) ten (10)

C) eleven (11)

D) twelve (12)

2. How many U.S. Senators are there?

A) four hundred thirty-five (435)

B) one hundred (100)

C) fifty (50)

D) fifty-two (52)

3. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?

A) one hundred (100)

B) two hundred (200)

C) four hundred thirty-five (435)

D) four hundred forty-one (441)

4. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?

A) eight (8)

B) four (4)

C) two (2)

D) six (6)

5. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

A) ten (10)

B) twenty-three (23)

C) twenty-one (21)

D) twenty-seven (27)

6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?

A) to bear arms

B) to vote

C) speech

D) trial by jury

7. When was the Constitution written?

A) 1776

B) 1787

C) 1789

D) 1790

8. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

A) Quebec

B) Haiti

C) Alaska

D) the Louisiana Territory

9. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.

A) Ohio River

B) Rio Grande River

C) Colorado River

D) Mississippi River

10. There were 13 original states. Name three.

A) New York, Kentucky, and Georgia

B) Washington, Oregon, and California

C) Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina

D) Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida



1. A

2. B

3. C

4. C

5. D

6. C

7. B

8. D

9. D

10. C