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A National Geographic survey revealed that over 60% of American could not locate Iraq on a an unlabeled map of the Middle East. This statistic made me wonder about whether or not this lack of knowledge colored opinions about the Iraq war. For example, would the people who knew where Iraq was located be more or less likely to believe the war was a mistake? More broadly, I wondered whether or not people who were more informed about public policy would have different policy preferences than those who were less well informed. All of this led me to construct my own pilot survey built around the following research question: Is there a statistical difference between the foreign policy preferences of those who are informed and those who are uninformed? To perform this test I built a survey with two parts: A brief civics exam that gauged whether respondents knew what government is and does, and a short survey that asked respondents for their opinion on various aspects of foreign policy including trade, immigration and armed interventions. My presentation reveals my findings, compares my research to other researchers who have dealt with similar questions, and examines what these findings might mean for American foreign policy in the 21st century.
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