March 10th, 2014
07:36 AM ET
5 months ago

CNN Poll: 59% approve of sanctions against Russia

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?

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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

soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. mandy

    The pole isn't correct. I disagree with it. I don't think Obama has the right to go in someone else's country and tell them how to run it. Obama isn't setting an example for other nations to fallow. Look at the condition of our own? If Russia starts a war let them. they can also finish it too. They don't need our help.

    March 10, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Hawkins

    59% have no clue that if we sanction Russia, we sanction ourselves.

    March 10, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. FedUpwithLA

    I really don't see how these things called sanctions work. Let's see, we have sanctions against North Korea. Last time I looked, they were still humming and belligerent as ever. Sanctions against Iran? Well, onward tot he bomb for them. It seems that sanctions isolate the country which as imposed them. Do we want that?

    March 10, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    @Mandy.
    That would be poll sweetie.

    March 10, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. rick3807

    Re: NewIdeas
    Sanctions against Russia will drive up energy prices around the world. And that always has a bad effect on the U.S. economy and jobs.

    And that will drive up energy company stocks, and that is why the Teapublicans want them.

    March 10, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. B.

    It does not really matter what percentage agree, or disagree, Putin will do this just like he did in Georgia and the World will stand buy and allow it to happen as before.

    March 10, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    joe cocchiarelli

    75% of americans agree that obama should be removed now. how come cnn obama syndicate does not publicize that poll percentage?
    -------–

    it's a total waste of time but, I'll ask anyway................so Joe, what is your source??? And CPAC doesn't count. Neither does Fox Snews

    March 10, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. Yes It's Not

    25% of the people in the US think the Sun revolves around the Earth. I don't think popular opinion should count for anything until the populace is educated.

    March 10, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Skeeve

    I am sure that those are the same 59% that supported bombing of Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan invasion and screamed that they are "Georgians" and .... also believe that only gene-modified tomatoes have genes and that the Sun rotates around the Earth. In other words – ignorant Americans who until last week did not know where Ukraine is on the map. Thanks CNN for putting numbers on that group.

    March 10, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Greg

    Economic sanctions would be a big mistake. If this poll is correct, I think many Americans need to be more familiar with the issues. Crimea wants to be part of Russia, and most of the residents are Russian.

    March 10, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. Rich

    Mandy, he's not going into someone else's country. He's condemning a takeover of another sovereign country. Putin wants the seaport in Crimea and he wants to reestablish the Russian Federation or something similar to the Soviet Union. He is a hard line Communist and was a member of the KGB. He has no respect for Obama and thinks we're paper tigers. He also knows that the UN has zero authority and zero ability to do anything but talk. Slapping sanctions on him will have about the same effect as they have had on North Korea and Iran. Putin will give us the finger and do whatever he wants.

    March 10, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. Xu Xui

    The elitist power brokers in the West have been slowly surrounding Russia since the end of the Cold War.

    Putin recognizes this fact and is responding to it. That is all.

    March 10, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Jj

    Popular opinion and polls are taken of a very small amount of people to start so a poll means absolutely nothing. True sanctioning doesnt hurt immediately and may do some good. In my opinion they did this so they could get backing from all countries possible. Russian has Syria, Iran and China as allies but China staying out and just do happens the other two are in the path of destruction.

    March 10, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. sly

    Thank God we have an intelligent President who hasn't already started WW III.

    Disregard the Republicans – they are a disgraced party.

    We run this nation now, and it is running quite well, thank you. Let Russia handle their own problems for a change.

    March 10, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. freyes

    Obama, rushing to server the richest 1% is doing something against nature: a black guy supporting a bunch of nazis that took by force (with US-supplied baseball bats) control of the Ukranian govt. The worldwide fighter for democracy (the US) is going to (again) recognize and support a regime not elected? Wait..., how many times has it done the same thing?

    March 10, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. GODZILLA1

    Slap a total trade embargo on Russia, confiscate all their foreign assets and expel all Russian nationals where ever they may be.

    March 10, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. VJ

    It is easy to achieve peace in Russia. To pass a job bill here, it is a monstrous task...
    GOP sucks...

    March 10, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
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