Systematically biased attributional beliefs turn out to be common and large. Fully 14 out of 16 survey questions exhibit statistically significant biases. Compared to experts in American politics, the public greatly overestimates the influence of state and local governments on the economy, the president and Congress on the quality of public education, the Federal Reserve on the budget, Congress on the Iraq War, and the Supreme Court on crime rates. The public also moderately underestimates the influence of the Federal Reserve on the economy, state and local governments on public education, and the president and Congress on the budget. While we are open to the possibility that non-cognitive factors explain observed belief gaps, controlling for demographics and various measures of self-serving and ideological bias does little to alter our results. A full set of controls reduces the absolute magnitude of the raw belief gaps by less than 13% - and leaves the number of statistically significant lay-expert differences unchanged.The biases seem to lean in favor of overestimating the influence of government. These results reminded me of a John Stossel video:
We should keep in mind that politicians may overstate their capabilities because voters often expect more than is possible. Unreasonable demands lead to over-inflated claims by candidates, leading to yet more unreasonable demands and so on.