Only 13 percent of respondents knew when the US Constitution was ratified, while more than half of those surveyed (60 percent) did not know which countries the US fought in World War II. The poll also revealed that 57 percent of respondents did not know the number of justices that serve on the Supreme Court, 77 percent did not know which states were part of the 13 original states, and 37 percent claimed that Benjamin Franklin (a founding father of the US) invented the lightbulb.
In addition, the survey found that 25 percent didn't know why American colonists fought the British for independence, and 12 percent incorrectly answered that WWII General Dwight Eisenhower led troops in the American Civil War. While most respondents did know the cause of the Cold War, 2 percent answered climate change.
"With voters heading to the polls next month, an informed and engaged citizenry is essential," Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Arthur Levine said in a Wednesday press release.
"Unfortunately this study found the average American to be woefully uninformed regarding America's history and incapable of passing the US Citizenship Test. It would be an error to view these findings as merely an embarrassment. Knowledge of the history of our country is fundamental to maintaining a democratic society, which is imperiled today."
In addition, the poll found gaps in knowledge based on age. Respondents aged 65 or older had the most correct responses, with 74 percent answering at least 60 percent of questions correctly. However, only 19 percent of those surveyed aged 45 or under passed the exam.
The poll, which was conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, surveyed 1,000 US citizens and has a margin of error of three percentage points.