March 10th, 2014
07:36 AM ET
8 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. g

    written buy big oil and the koch lobbyist 7.00 a gallon .suckers

    March 10, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. Sniffit

    Just to help you out in understanding the difference in McCain's 2008 and 2014 positions:

    2008: Ongoing "war on terror" and massive military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, high point of demonization of muslims and GOP hopes and plans for a replacement of the "cold war" with new bogeymen and a new "cold war" in full swing.

    2014: Not so much anymore....Iraq and Afghanistan pretty much over, demonization of muslims has waned and the "war on terror" isn't working as a justification for everything and anything they can come up with...military spending already cut and about to be reduced even further.

    Any questions?

    March 10, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. MaryM

    Just imagine the War/s America would be in right now if a republicans was preisdent. Republicans = warmongers

    March 10, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Silence DoGood

    Sniffit
    Let's turn to everyone's favorite chickehawk to help everyone understand the GOP/Teatrolls' positions here:
    McCain 2014: "They have been near delusional in thinking the Cold War was over."
    McCain 2008: "The Cold War is over, the Soviet empire is gone and neither one is missed."
    ----------
    The Radical Right and their Koch handlers need demons to have us fight, whether it is the creation of the Cold War all over again, or sinful behavior and imagined moral decline, or Obama's birth certificate, or mysterious Death Panels. If they can make us scared of something, they have us. Domestic terrorism.

    March 10, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. john.deatherage

    CNN can & will spin any issue in favor of President Obama. Soon, they will be lauding the Crimean crisis as a foreign policy coup for the President. President Obama persuaded Putin to take the Crimea against his will!

    March 10, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. Enough is Enough

    @silencedogod "After the Radical Religious Right takes Biology out of the classroom, maybe we should take Math out too. Surely that will make America smarter."

    I laugh at all the progressives telling conservatives that we are against science......let's compare your science and engineering training to mine and many other conservatives.......It's funny how most of the scientists and engineers that I work with and know are very conservative.....most of the liberal arts majors...not so much....but then again it is difficult to work with the unemployed.....

    March 10, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Ken

    Sniffit – Let's turn to every snake oil Democratic salesman.

    Obama 2008- Late 2013 – "If you like your insurance policy you can keep your insurance policy."

    Obama Late 2013 – "Uhhhh, ummmm, uhhhhh"

    Any questions?

    March 10, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    Of course, one thing the Right is remarkably silent on: the role Daddy koch played in helping the Soviets rebuild their refineries. I guess we have them to thank for giving Putin all the leverage Russia is using on the Ukraine and the rest of Europe. Strange that Palin and the other sages on the Right don't mention that, hmmmm.

    March 10, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Silence DoGood

    @Enough is Enough
    @silencedogod "After the Radical Religious Right takes Biology out of the classroom, maybe we should take Math out too. Surely that will make America smarter."

    I laugh at all the progressives telling conservatives that we are against science......let's compare your science and engineering training to mine and many other conservatives.......It's funny how most of the scientists and engineers that I work with and know are very conservative.....most of the liberal arts majors...not so much....but then again it is difficult to work with the unemployed.....
    -----------
    Laugh away. I am not talking about conservatives. I am talking about the tail that is wagging the conservative dog. Money and religious zeitgeist is running and ruining your show. But do laugh on.

    March 10, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. Bill from GA

    Forget Sanctions. Let's send Hillary back with her 'Reset' button, that actually said 'Overcharge'.

    March 10, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Sniffit

    "Sniffit – Let's turn to every snake oil Democratic salesman.

    Obama 2008- Late 2013 – "If you like your insurance policy you can keep your insurance policy."

    Obama Late 2013 – "Uhhhh, ummmm, uhhhhh"

    Any questions?"
    ==

    Yeah, I have a question (altho I already know the answer): Why did you skip the part where he acknowledged the problem, publicly apologized and then implemented regulatory policies to help address it?

    March 10, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Bubba Ray

    I disapprove of Obama's performance. I disapprove even more of the Republicans and their constant criticism and total lack of providing anything constructive.

    March 10, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Bill from GA

    To Jay: Could you see Russia from your front porch?

    Seriously, You sound like one of the few here who has a clue.

    March 10, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. BMoore

    Wow...how times have changed and history is so easily forgotten. Never mind the idea that we and our allies should eventually oppose Russia with military force for just annexing other countries, 41% of us (55% under 35) do not even want to use economic pressure. We are increasingly becoming an isolationist people (a la Rand Paul), and I believe we will one day pay a huge price for it!

    March 10, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. julnor

    I guess you HAVE to impose sanctions, but I doubt they will change anything and there is a big chance they could backfire as I am sure Putin will increase the cost of natural gas to Europe which will then push Europe to ask Obama to ease the sanctions. Regardless, Crimea is once again part of Russia and nothing will change that. it's now just a question of whether Putin will takeover larger swaths of eastern Ukraine.

    March 10, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. Moe

    59% approve of sanctions giving 4 other terrible options.

    March 10, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. Deborah Goode

    Where on earth did you come up with those numbers? No one I know wants anything to do with Russia. Obama wants to run this country and our people into the ground with war. Since he's a puppet president I assume we will not get a say. So he's already began to tell new agency's what to print?? Nice going CNN with your bogus approval rating

    March 10, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. just someone

    If Russia attacked Turkey from the rear do you thing Greece will help?

    March 10, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  19. History Teacher

    Remember when we used economic sanctions against Japan after they established a puppet state in Manchuria in 1932 and invaded China in 1937....what happened next was They Bombed Pearl Harbor!!!

    March 10, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. sly

    International issues are handled internationally, using the United Nations. The UN typically implements sanctions in these situations, so that seems to be a prudent step.

    Obviously it is not an issue for America, and frankly, who cares.

    March 10, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. jawn

    It doesnt matter what anyone thinks about russia or not....We are trillions in debt living off of credit...How could we do anything even if we wanted to??? We need to get our house straight,how can we worry about any other nations???

    March 10, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    -History Teacher

    Remember when we used economic sanctions against Japan after they established a puppet state in Manchuria in 1932 and invaded China in 1937....what happened next was They Bombed Pearl Harbor!!!
    **********************
    So, you feel that we will be inviting attack by imposing sanctions? The Japanese went after us because we were their largest supply of oil, and the Pearl Harbor attack was to help Japan secure oil facilities in the Dutch East indies. We don't have oil leverage on them, but we have other means of hurting them. Its an apples to oranges comparison.

    March 10, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Think_Dynamic

    Some European allies may not take part in sanction against Russia, Putin hold their neck as main gas supplier. Putin's clever move taking control of gas company after all pipe lines were in placed. This is a blackmail.

    March 10, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Marie MD

    Polls are for fools.
    We don't need another stinkin' war! PERIOD.
    Crimeans don't seen too unhappy with the Russians being where they don't belong.

    March 10, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. joe cocchiarelli

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

    March 10, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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