Doh! Americans Know 'The Simpsons' Better than First Amendment

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Americans know more about Bart and Homer than they do about their own freedom.

About 22 percent of Americans can name all five of the fictional "Simpsons" family members—Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. But just one in 1,000 people surveyed could name all five freedoms granted under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

For the record, and so you can now dazzle your friends with what can now be called trivia, the freedoms are: freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances.

The study by the new McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum found that 22 percent of Americans could name all five Simpson family members, compared with just one in 1,000 people who could name all five First Amendment freedoms.

“These survey results clearly demonstrate that many Americans don’t have an understanding of the freedoms they regularly enjoy," said Dave Anderson, executive director of the museum.

Joe Madeira, director of exhibitions at the museum, said he was surprised by the results.

"Part of the survey really shows there are misconceptions, and part of our mission is to clear up these misconceptions,'' said Madeira, whose museum will be dedicated to helping visitors understand the First Amendment when it opens in April. "It means we have our job cut out for us.''

The survey found that only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. More than half can name at least two members of the cartoon family.

The survey found more people could name the three "American Idol'' judges than identify three First Amendment rights. They were also more likely to remember popular advertising slogans.

It also showed that people misidentified First Amendment rights. About one in five people thought the right to own a pet was protected, and 38 percent said they believed the right against self-incrimination contained in the Fifth Amendment was a First Amendment right, the survey found.

The telephone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Jan. 20-22 by the research firm Synovate and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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