March 10th, 2014
07:36 AM ET
4 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?

140310075746-cnn-orc-poll-ukraine-story-top[1]

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. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP should just keep their mouth shut , nobody ELECTED them president and commander in chief of the USA. The GOP clowns just continue to make fools of themselves and believe their own spin that they are going to be realected and that's not going to happen. Hiding behind obamacare is a losing agenda. The GOP has NOTHING to offer the American people but more obstruction and incompetence. Vote dem in November if you have ANY brains!!!!!!!

    March 10, 2014 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  2. salty dog

    Lets just bomb them, send more kids to die, the money is sooo good! After Georges oil war, the world us very reluctant to work with us, you rwnj say what you will, the world hates us because of him.

    March 10, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  3. Truth

    No one asked me. I believe we should mind our business in Russia. There are tons of screwed up countries that we don't mention...but I'm supposed to feel bad for Russia??

    March 10, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  4. Jack

    About the same margin of his electoral victory. And the Republicans really think they are going to win in 2014 & 2016, it will be interesting! Where there new ideas; only heard one Wisconsin governor's health plan, but no details!

    March 10, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  5. t3chn0ph0b3

    Um... Has Obama's response been anything but sanctions, or am I missing something?

    March 10, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  6. hatenapa

    The GOP smear campaign has failed.

    March 10, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  7. oharris30

    What else can he do other than having this thug push us into another war where our people once again are placed in harm's way. this is a time we need to support the president and our leaders. Funny how the repubs are so gung ho for war but then turn around and criticize the president for spending their children's money for the future. I can guarantee you if we are pushed into war with Putin, their kids will have no future. I support this president. No more wars.

    March 10, 2014 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  8. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    If you want another war , vote for the GOP and YOU and the GOP congress can be the first to go!!!!!!

    March 10, 2014 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  9. Josh from Brooklyn

    What, you mean the public disagrees with the GOP talking points on Ukraine? I am shocked.

    March 10, 2014 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  10. Jason Bowers

    472 people of 801 approve sanctions. That should be the true headline, a majority of the 801 people polled; not a majority of Americans.

    March 10, 2014 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  11. Russ

    This isn't news.......no body cares about these infintile stupid polls.

    March 10, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  12. Poll This

    Posted by CNN political unit so one has to ask, what is the sampling party affiliation? Ever since a CNN presidential debate moderator lost her neutrality by backing up Obama's answer.
    I don't consider CNN 'the most trusted news source'!

    March 10, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  13. Bert974

    The current president is wrong. The 48% vote ratifies that. The Amerikan people are usually wrong; that instance is no exception. Same old Amerikans.

    March 10, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  14. smc

    Why do Republicans hate America so much?

    March 10, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  15. Durannie

    Bush would have invaded Australia over this by now! Thankfully cooler heads are prevailing.

    March 10, 2014 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  16. chet

    The POTUS needs to stand tall with the Ukraine and halt the Russian incursion into another nation's boarders. Or are we back to pre-WW2 appeasement? It didn't work then and it will not work now. I guess we'll be back to the Cold War soon enough with his actions!

    March 10, 2014 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    I love the people who disapprove of Pres. Obama's handling of Crimea, but they cannot tell you what they would do differently.

    March 10, 2014 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  18. Bill Smells

    Wait, how is less than 50% an approval? So the headline should read: "57% of people disagree with Obama's handling of the Ukraine". But this is CNN, the Democrat Apologist News Network.

    March 10, 2014 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  19. Siggy

    59% believe that it is alright to take a broom to the boogeyman that grandpa kept telling you was under your bed?

    March 10, 2014 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  20. Dale

    Same ratings any president would have received in the same situation.

    March 10, 2014 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  21. Bert974

    Russia, even as the "Soviet Union", was never an authentic threat; The Government was the main threat as it is today. Today's Russia is not the leader of some international communist conspiracy. It is a successful capitalist country. Because of that, Russia should be a bigger ally rather than nominally Communist China. The USgov with these goofy anti-Russian propaganda deals is the biggest problem for Amerikan voters. Why is Ukraine a failure economically? Too much Amerikan influence.

    March 10, 2014 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  22. Gurgyl

    Well, while Home Health Services are looting Medicare payments–we are crying on Russia sanctions, Ukraine invading etc. EU is there, first fix the pot holes on high ways, LaGuardia airport, JFK etc. Why not USA government directly provide in home elderly patients services to cut lobbyist mediator costs?

    March 10, 2014 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  23. Bert974

    Furthermore President Whatisname is no good.
    Being about as good as a lousy president makes for a lousy president.
    Worse now than when it started. The novelty has worn off.

    March 10, 2014 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  24. Phil Muse

    Sanctions won't work, only the threat of armed force. The rest of the world cried "foul" when the Bush & Cheney mob invaded Iraq, and what good did that do? The Republicans will probably seize the opportunity to paint Obama as a limp wrist when sanctions and diplomacy fail to deter Putin, but are they prepared to go to war with Russia – a war that could easily spin out of control? I don't think so!

    March 10, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  25. unknown11

    It sounds like a great idea, except that it will not accomplish our goals, Europe will not go along with it, and it will make us look even more impotent than we already do. Other than that, gee Mr. President, what a great idea.

    March 10, 2014 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6