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UM Poll: Only 22 Percent of Montanans able to name State's Highest Point


November 22, 2018

MISSOULA – The University of Montana’s Big Sky Poll asked respondents, “Can you tell me the name of the highest natural point in Montana?” Twenty-two percent of respondents answered correctly – Granite Peak. Located in the Beartooth Mountains in south-central Montana, Granite Peak stands at 12,799 feet tall.

Table 1: Aggregate Responses

Answer Percentage

Granite Peak 21.8%

Beartooth Mountains 2.5%

Other 12.9%

Don’t Know 62.8%

Granite Peak ranks 10th-highest on the list of high points in U.S. states, yet is considered one of the most difficult to summit. Other popular answers from survey respondents included Trapper Peak, the highest point in the Bitterroot Mountains (10,157 feet) and “Somewhere in Glacier National Park,” where the highest peak is Mount Cleveland (10,479 feet).

In the Spring 2018 UM Big Sky Poll, respondents were asked, “Can you tell me the words displayed on the ribbon of the Montana state seal?” According to that poll, 30 percent of Montanans responded correctly with “Oro y Plata,” which is Spanish for “gold and silver.”

“These types of questions are asked in order to gauge Montanans’ knowledge of our state’s history, geography and traditions,” said Dr. Sara Rinfret, an associate professor and director of UM’s Master of Public Administration Program. “We like to include a fun question among the more serious questions about Montanans opinions of politicians and ballot initiatives.”

The Big Sky Poll collects and reports information about Montanans’ perceptions of local, state and federal issues. The poll is directed by Rinfret and Dr. Justin Angle, associate professor of marketing and the Warren and Betsy Wilcox Faculty Fellow in UM’s College of Business.

The poll telephone survey was conducted Aug. 13-31 with 618 registered Montana voters. The margin of error is +/-4 at a 95 percent confidence level.


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