A recent survey from Morning Consult and Politico found that only 28% of Americans surveyed could accurately find Iran on an unlabeled map of the Middle east.
Only 23% could find it on an unlabeled world map.
Among those who were unable to correctly locate Iran, 8% incorrectly placed it in nearby Iraq—another country we have been in conflict with for decades.
The survey highlighted American voters' lack of familiarity with world geography even as it related to countries that the US has been in long-term conflict with. Respondents' political affiliations and age were not strong factors in whether they could find Iran on the map.
Respondents' level of education and wealth were, however—more educated and wealthier voters were significantly more likely to be able to place Iran on the map.
Joanna Piacenza, from Morning Consult, tweeted the results of the survey.
NEW from me: We asked folks to identify Iran on an unlabeled map. 28% of them got it right. Here's where they gues… https://t.co/FBeWDd9bOt— Joanna Piacenza (@Joanna Piacenza)1578489037.0
This isn't the first test of our geographic knowledge that we've failed completely.
Morning Consult's survey is based on another from 2017 asking Americans to locate North Korea.
This geography test was inspired by the great @kyledropp, who ran a similar test on North Korea back in 2017. https://t.co/vAbyhgy9VU— Joanna Piacenza (@Joanna Piacenza)1578489303.0
When the results of the Iran survey were shared on Twitter users were a bit confused by some of the answers.
@jpiacenza ...wh...whut?? 🤦♂️ https://t.co/IcGmOssf9j— wok_on_fire (@wok_on_fire)1578500676.0
@jpiacenza The saddest part is it looks like they're picking Iraq...the LAST COUNTRY the US decided to invade and o… https://t.co/NwflkFwfO4— Progres(sive)ing to Insanity (@Progres(sive)ing to Insanity)1578584219.0
@jpiacenza WHO?! WHO guessed Italy? It’s a goddamned boot! Everyone should know at least that!— Terminate and Stay Resident (@Terminate and Stay Resident)1578502292.0
@jpiacenza @prisonculture you'd think after 17 years of war in Iraq they'd at least understand Iran isn't in Iraq...— Brendon (@Brendon)1578495114.0
Some people argued that the results actually weren't too bad, all things considered.
@jpiacenza @CityBureaucrat On an unlabeled map? 28% is pretty good.— Kevin (@Kevin)1578495061.0
@jpiacenza Looks like about 50% guessed either Iran or Iraq. That’s actually not TOO bad.— realLaocoön (@realLaocoön)1578497538.0
@Kevinjlyonsgma1 @jpiacenza @CityBureaucrat A lot of guesses were close. It can be a little tricky for people to la… https://t.co/V1RWmGrCDI— nancypantsy (@nancypantsy)1578575314.0
Many people weren't so much surprised by the survey results, just disappointed.
@jpiacenza @damocrat How do you expect them to find Iran and Iraq on the map when they cannot even pronounce the na… https://t.co/8abF2fg4jx— Louise Johnson (@Louise Johnson)1578501538.0
@jpiacenza I'd bet most would not be able to label all 50 states or identify Guatemala on a map. Americans know eve… https://t.co/cETeN421bO— Leslieanne Warlick (@Leslieanne Warlick)1578501804.0
@jpiacenza Pretty sure some couldn't find the United States on an unlabeled map.— Juebees (@Juebees)1578521070.0
@jpiacenza @ictlogist A round of applause for those Americans who believe Iran is in Texas, please.— Adrià Alsina Leal (@Adrià Alsina Leal)1578501331.0
@Kevinjlyonsgma1 @jpiacenza @CityBureaucrat Assuming that there's a margin of error from trolling and the like. At… https://t.co/YWhdwXl2nc— Ingar Haugholt (@Ingar Haugholt)1578578084.0
While the 1,995 people surveyed don't necessarily represent all Americans, it is troubling that only 28% of those polled could correctly locate Iran while a much higher percentage have vocal opinions on the country.
American citizens not being able to locate a country that we have been in conflict with for decades demonstrated an alarming trend, especially given recent calls to escalate hostilities and a possible war.