At one level, these conclusions are hardly surprising. After all, previous research has shown that Democrats and Republicans have wildly false notions of the demographic make-up of the opposing party. Democrats think Republicans are older, richer, and more Evangelical than they really are. Republicans think Democrats are more secular, black, and gay than they really are.
And more broadly, surveys showing civic ignorance are squarely in the dog-bites-man category. Spend nine seconds on Google, and you can find depressing studies that show “more than half of Americans can’t name a single Supreme Court justice” or more Americans know that Randy Jackson was a judge on American Idol than know John Roberts is the chief justice of the United States.
But the More in Common survey is different, and disturbing: It shows that political ignorance about the opposing party is driven by America’s most engaged and (at least on the left) most highly educated citizens. In other words, the more you pay attention to political media, the less likely you are to understand the true beliefs of your political opponents.