A recent poll concerning the ongoing trouble in Ukraine found that only roughly one in six Americans know where the country is geographically located— many believe it is located somewhere in Europe or Asia and some misplaced the nation by 1,800 miles. What’s more disturbing than the respondents’ lacking geography skills, however, is that those who most inaccurately identified Ukraine were also the most likely to support U.S. military intervention in the nation.
The survey, conducted by a team consisting of Dartmouth, Harvard and Princeton political scientists, asked 2,066 Americans to locate Ukraine on a map. Respondents were also asked to provide opinions on what action the U.S. should take in Ukraine along with identifying demographic information.
“We wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views,” the researchers explained in a Washington Post column. “We found that only one out of six Americans can find Ukraine on a map, and that this lack of knowledge is related to preferences: The farther their guesses were from Ukraine’s actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene with military force.”
Who Could Locate Ukraine?:
- 27 percent of 18-24 year olds
- 14 percent of 65+ year-olds
- 20 percent of men
- 13 percent of women
- 16.1 percent of people from military households
- 16 percent of people from non-military households
- 29 percent of independents
- 14 percent of Democrats
- 15 percent of Republicans
- 21 percent of college graduates
- 13 percent of people without a college degree
The researchers discovered that 45 percent of Americans supported diplomatic pressure such as a U.S. boycott of the G8 Summit in response to the Ukrainian crises, and just 13 percent supported military intervention.
Among the 13 percent with hawkish responses, however, the researchers recognized an unsettling trend.
They relayed: “Even controlling for a series of demographic characteristics and participants’ general foreign policy attitudes, we found that the less accurate our participants were, the more they wanted the U.S. to use force, the greater the threat they saw Russia as posing to U.S. interests, and the more they thought that using force would advance U.S. national security interests; all of these effects are statistically significant at a 95 percent confidence level.”
More about the survey via The Washington Post.