NYT Study Shows Americans Who Know Where North Korea Is Are More Likely to Prefer Diplomacy

Most Americans can't locate North Korea on an unmarked map. This group is more partial to direct military engagement than participants who could find the country

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts during a long-range strategic ballistic rocket test launch.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts during a long-range strategic ballistic rocket test launch. KCNA/REUTERS

Most Americans can't locate North Korea on an unmarked map – and those who can tend to prefer diplomatic strategies toward the country, a study conducted at the request of The New York Times has found.

Only 36 percent of American adults were able to identify North Korea on an unlabeled map of Asia, the group of scientists led by Kyle Dropp of Morning Consult found. According to The New York Times, those who were able to locate the country were "much more likely to disagree with the proposition that the United States should do nothing about North Korea." 

The U.S. called North Korea "a flagrant menace" after it launched a ballistic missile on Sunday, which dropped into the Sea of Japan. The White House said that U.S. President Donald Trump is still considering the option of dialogue, but added that the latest "provocation" should serve as a call for nations to sanction the country.

The majority of those who successfully located North Korea appear to agree with the White House's latest statement. Most of the respondents favored imposing economic sanctions on the country and increasing pressure on China to deal with the issue, with a lesser portion preferring to launch cyberattacks against military targets in the North. 

In contrast, the respondents who failed to locate North Korea were more partial than the other group to direct military engagement, especially sending ground troops to the East Asian nation. Among those couldn't locate the country, the most perferred option was to impose economic sanctions.

Interestingly, respondents who had been abroad were much more likely (43 percent) to locate North Korea than those who had not (26 percent). Education was another major factor in respondents' ability to locate the country: Participants with postgraduate degrees were much more succesful (53 percent) than those without a college degree (31 percent). 

The main indicator of respondents' ability to locate the country, however, had nothing to do with age, gender, political views or education. Over half (55 percent) of those able to find North Korea said they know someone of Korean ancestry, compared to 34 percent.

Read the full story to find out more about the study's findings and the link between geographical knowledge and political views.