I apologize for picking on Dan Kahan, because he seems like a good guy. And he’s no worse than the typical Yale academic. But he really should be embarrassed. How could an academic expect people who identify with the Tea Party to be below average in any sort of intelligence/education metric? It boggles the mind.
Average people pay little attention to public affairs. Following public policy is not normal behavior; it’s what smart people do. People like to talk about how popular Fox News is, but compare its ratings to professional wrestling, or some other non-intellectual show. You will be surprised by how few people watch Fox. The only reason the Tea Party didn’t do better is that the group included those who merely sympathize–if you took actual members the score would have been far higher.