Pew Research: 8% of Americans think Thurgood Marshall is the Chief Justice

September 2nd, 2010

From Pew Research:

Asked to name the current chief justice of the Supreme Court, and given four possible names, nearly one-in-ten Americans (8%) choose Thurgood Marshall, despite the fact that Justice Marshall left the Supreme Court roughly 20 years ago, and passed away in 1993. In fact, very few Americans can name the current chief justice in a Pew Research news quiz; just 28% were able to correctly identify John Roberts. Another 6% thought the recently retired Justice John Paul Stevens was chief justice, while 4% named Sen. Harry Reid. A majority (53%) admitted that they did not know the answer. Americans have not always been so unknowledgeable about the Supreme Court. In November 1986, 43% correctly identified William Rehnquist as the chief justice, though 29% chose his predecessor, Warren Burger.

I will point out the Pew Research fail here. The proper title is “Chief Justice of the United States,” not “Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.”