Oh, respondents were also asked if they could identify Tony Blair. Here's the coding instructions for the questioners:
The reference must be specifically to "Great Britain" or "England" -- United Kingdom is *NOT* acceptable (Blair is not the head of Ireland), nor is reference to any other political/geographic unit (e.g. British Isles, Europe, etc.) If unsure whether correct, code as best you can and record R’s response as a remark.Okay, I'm an Americanist, and even I know that's wrong. Blair, of course, was PM of the United Kingdom, which doesn't include Ireland (although it does include Northern Ireland).
This is pretty damned bad. I use some of these questions when I lecture about how uninformed the average American voter is, so at the very least I've been (slightly) slandering my fellow voters. This is worse, of course, for scholars who have been using these tainted questions in their research to study or control for information effects.
Arguably, it's even worse for our profession in general, since we're supposed to be experts on politics but know approximately dick about the U.S. Constitution and the United Kingdom.