Many Americans have strong opinions about policy issues shaping the presidential campaign, from immigration to Social Security. But their grasp of numbers that underlie those issues can be tenuous.
"It's pretty apparent that Americans routinely don't know objective facts about the government," says Joshua Clinton, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University.
Americans' numerical misapprehension can be traced to a range of factors, including where they live, the news they consume, the political rhetoric they hear and even the challenges of numbers themselves. And it isn't even clear how much this matters: Telling people the right numbers often doesn't change their views.