Americans think they know a lot about politics – and it's bad for democracy that they're so often wrong in their confidence

As statewide primaries continue through the summer, many Americans are beginning to think about which candidates they will support in the 2022 general election.

This decision-making process is fraught with difficulties, especially for inexperienced voters.

Voters must navigate angry, emotion-laden conversations about politics when trying to sort out whom to vote for. Americans are more likely than ever to view politics in moral terms, meaning their political conversations sometimes feel like epic battles between good and evil.

But political conversations are also shaped by, obviously, what Americans know – and, less obviously, what they think they know – about politics.

In recent research, I studied how Americans’ perceptions of their own political knowledge shape their political attitudes. My results show that many Americans think they know much more about politics than they really do.