Washington (CNN) - Slightly more Americans approve than disapprove of how President Barack Obama has so far handled the crisis in Ukraine, but that has not affected the President's overall job approval rating, according to a new national poll.
The CNN/ORC International survey released Monday also indicates that economic sanctions against Russia appears to be the only option that a majority of Americans support that's available to the U.S. to try and end the crisis in the Ukraine.
The poll also suggests that the public is worried about the situation in Ukraine, but not overly concerned. And most say that the U.S. would face only minor problems or no problems at all if Ukraine's autonomous Crimean peninsula becomes a part of Russian territory.
Obama on Ukraine
Forty-eight percent of people questioned in the poll say they approve of how the President has so far handled the Ukraine crisis, with 43% giving Obama a thumbs down and 9% unsure.
According to the poll, 43% of the public approves of how Obama is handling his overall job in the White House and 53% disapproves. Obama's approval/disapproval rating stood at 45%-50% a month ago. The President's current approval rating is slightly higher than where it stood in November and December, when his numbers hovered at or near all-time lows in CNN polling (41%) and many other national surveys.
What should U.S. do?
Nearly six in 10 of those questioned say they support economic sanctions against Moscow by the U.S. and its allies in an attempt to force Russia to remove its forces from the Crimean peninsula, and try to prevent Russia from sending forces to other parts of Ukraine. Nearly four in 10 oppose economic sanctions. Last week the Obama administration laid the groundwork for sanctions against Russia.
"All demographic groups support economic sanctions except the youngest Americans. More than six in 10 older Americans support sanctions, but 55% of Americans under the age of 35 oppose them," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "It's possible that generation gap is due to older Americans' memories of the Soviet Union as the chief threat to the U.S.; many younger Americans may have no memory at all of the Cold War and most of those under the age of 25 were not even born when the Soviet Union collapsed."
By a 52%-46% margin, Americans are against economic aid to Ukraine. Nearly six in 10 say no to canceling the G-8 summit meeting between the leaders of Russia, the U.S., and its Western allies. Just over three-quarters oppose sending weapons and other military supplies to Kiev.
"And there's a big 'no' to the U.S. launching either air strikes against Russian troops in the Ukraine or to sending U.S. ground troops to the Ukraine," Holland added. "Only one in eight support sending U.S. ground troops to Ukraine - a pretty good indication that the public would prefer a measured response to a forceful one."
Americans not overly concerned
Philosophically, Americans are not eager to get involved in foreign conflicts. Only 28% questioned in the poll say that the country's top priority should be making sure that there is peace and stability throughout the world. Nearly seven in ten say the U.S. should emphasize safety and security right here at home.
According to the poll, 42% say they're somewhat concerned about the crisis in Ukraine, but only three in ten say they're very concerned.
"That's roughly the same level of concern that Americans expressed about conflicts in Libya and Syria in past polls," said Holland.
Looking ahead to what may happen next in the region, just 6% say that the U.S. would face a crisis if Crimea becomes part of Russia and only a quarter predict major problems if that happens. But there is greater concern about Russian escalation, with just over half forecasting a crisis or major problems for the U.S. if Russia sends its forces anywhere else in Ukraine.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from Friday through Sunday, with 801 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report