There is a recent iPos MORI study that evaluated the perception and reality of issues in 14 western, industrialized countries to determine how well the perception of the populace matched reality. The US was one of those surveyed. No surprise, most Americans’ perception is very different than reality because the news and politics get in the way of the facts. The study found for example that Americans perceived that teenage birth rates were 24 % of girls vs the real number of 3%, that 32% of the population is immigrants vs 13% actual, and that the majority of people perceiving welfare were black vs. the reality of 39% (38% are white and 15% Hispanic). The states with the largest number of welfare recipients are in the northeast, which are also the states that received the smallest amount of federal funding per capita. Talk about misperceptions.
While other countries have similar misperceptions, perpetuating misconceptions is part of the extreme discourse in Congress and among different constituencies. When we perceive the issues incorrectly and our elected officials do nothing to improve that perception? What does that say about them? No wonder we cannot get infrastructure to the top of our funding needs? They perceive if you get water, can drive on it or flush it away, things must be fine?