There's a news item today about how little Americans know about their government institutions, US history, and economics at a very basic level. It's pretty bad - fewer than half of all Americans can name all three branches of the federal government, for example. But this was not the main point of today's news since ISI has been giving this quiz and reporting the results for several years (summary here). The news was that a measurable subset of the latest test takers reported that they either are or have been elected officials - and these people did even worse (average 44%) than the general public (49%). The whole Sarah Palin thing starts to make a little more sense now. You don't need to know much about government - just do it! And be sure not to blink.
P.S. You can take the civics quiz yourself here, it's only 33 multiple choice questions. Pretty basic stuff. I got 100% on it. Every American should!