Where’s Ukraine? And does it matter?

There are a couple of competing ways to look at this graphic, from a survey asking people in the United States to indicate where Ukraine is. One is, “Wow, are people ever ignorant.” The other is: “Wow, Americans got it right a lot of the time. For Americans.”

Thomas Zeitzoff/The Monkey Cage

The survey was conducted by researchers at Princeton, Harvard, and Dartmouth and it asked about 2,200 people to click a location on the map they think is where Ukraine is located.

One in six got it right, but the media location was about 1,800 miles off, or roughly the equivalent of saying Los Angeles is on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Younger Americans tended to get it correct. Seventy-seven percent of college graduates failed to properly place it on the map.

Does it matter?

In his article in the Washington Post, Princeton University professor Thomas Zeitzoff says it absolutely does.

Information, or the absence thereof, can influence Americans’ attitudes about the kind of policies they want their government to carry out and the ability of elites to shape that agenda. Accordingly, we also asked our respondents a variety of questions about what they thought about the current situation on the ground, and what they wanted the United States to do. Similarly to other recent polls, we found that although Americans are undecided on what to do with Ukraine, they are more likely to oppose action in Ukraine the costlier it is — 45 percent of Americans supported boycotting the G8 summit, for example, while only 13 percent of Americans supported using force.