This Daily Number was published on April 1, 2011.

According to a recently released study, 79% of Americans are missing the point entirely with regard to such wide-ranging topics as politics, consumerism, taxes, entertainment, fashion and professional wrestling, reports America’s finest news source, The Onion. Polling nearly 8,000 Americans on a variety of subjects, the study found that only 21% of those surveyed had even the slightest clue. Moreover, analysis of the data found that the tendency of Americans to really just not get it transcends all boundaries of class, color, religion, sexual orientation and political persuasion. Despite the preponderance of evidence supporting its findings, the university-based study has drawn widespread criticism from the American public. As one critic, a Wheeling, W.Va, auto mechanic observed, “If I want to complain about having to pay taxes while at the same time demanding extra police protection for my neighborhood, that’s my right as an American. Most people in other countries don’t ever get the chance to miss the point, and that’s tragic. The East Timorese are so busy fleeing for their lives, they never have the chance to go to the supermarket during the busiest time of the week and complain to the cashier about how long the lines are and ask them why they don’t do something about it.” Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.