CNN Poll: Most see Russia as a threat to U.S.
March 14th, 2014
01:01 PM ET
7 months ago

CNN Poll: Most see Russia as a threat to U.S.

Washington (CNN) - As the crisis in the Ukraine continues, a new national poll indicates that for the first time in more than a decade, more than half of Americans see Russia as a serious threat to the U.S.

A CNN/ORC International survey released Friday also indicates that Russian President Vladimir Putin's unfavorable rating among Americans has soared over the past month. And the poll indicates that the vast majority of the public says Moscow's actions in neighboring Ukraine break international law, and half of those questioned say a new Cold War between the U.S. and Russia is likely.

Read full CNN/ORC International survey results here.

According to the poll, 69% of Americans say they see Russia as threat to the U.S.

"That's a 25-percentage point increase since 2012 and represents the highest number on that question since the break-up of the Soviet Union," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Thirty-one percent now say they don't see Russia as a threat, down from 53% two years ago. The poll indicates that Americans place Russia in the same ballpark as North Korea (71%) and Iran (70%) when it comes to being seen as a threat to the U.S.

Only 11% of those questioned say they have a positive view of Putin, with 68% saying they see him in a negative way.

"The numbers are pretty clear on the Russian president. Americans really don't like Vladimir Putin, whose unfavorable rating has jumped 14 points since early February," Holland added.

No let up in crisis

The poll's release comes as some 8,500 Russian troops staged snap military exercises close to the border with Ukraine. It also comes just two days before the pro-Russian government in Ukraine's autonomous region of Crimean has scheduled a referendum in which residents of the peninsula will vote whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia or to choose effective independence. Ukraine's interim government in Kiev, as well as U.S. and European leaders, have warned that the vote is illegitimate.

Russia has said that it has the right to intervene in Ukraine to protect ethnic Russians from "fascists" and nationalists. It denies that its forces are militarily involved in Crimea, despite evidence to the contrary. Crimea is an ethnic Russian-majority peninsula in the country's southeast where local officials have declared their allegiance to Russia and armed men have blockaded Ukrainian military sites.

The U.S. Senate is weighing legislation that could impose economic penalties on Russians involved in the intervention in Crimea. The measure would represent some of the toughest sanctions on Moscow since the end of the Cold War.

A new Cold War?

The poll indicates that more than seven in ten believe that there's no justification for Russia's actions in Ukraine and more than eight in ten say Russia has violated international law.

Four in ten say they worry about the possibility of nuclear war with Russia and nearly half believe that a new Cold War is likely in the next few years.

The poll was conducted for CNN 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


Filed under: CNN poll • CNN/ORC International poll • CNN/ORC poll • Russia • Ukraine • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (346 Responses)
  1. Lee

    Thanks to media narratives, people will believe anything.

    The reporting on Ukraine has been laughable in it's assumptions, bias, and lack of historical context.

    March 14, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. ben

    This is driven largely by ridiculous articles such as this one. If we left Ukraine alone, and we have no business there, Russia wouldn't even be in the news. As it is, all of this worry is largely derived from BS polls and 24h media coverage of what would otherwise be a non-situation

    March 14, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. Adam Smith

    Who would have thought – after tons of anti-Russian propaganda from the 'free press', lemmings see Russia as threat.

    March 14, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. navaJohn

    I never thought I'd say this but it looks like Romney was right after all.

    March 14, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. MrTeflon

    The defense Industry would love another cold war with Russia the only issue is that all the parts would be made in China these days.

    March 14, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Mick

    Is it time to take my money out of the market?

    March 14, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. steve

    Just like Mitt called it!

    March 14, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. Pilot125

    I remember Romney warning about this during the debate and Obama called him crazy

    March 14, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. rschier

    Nothing more than nonsensical hysteria. People are media-zombies.

    March 14, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. smith

    Russia is not a threat to US on our turf, unless they used nukes.

    March 14, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Fish192

    I guess we'll have more James Bond movies frequently.

    March 14, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. Solomon Walker

    America is misinformed.
    BRICS nations are aligning to become the world's second superpower v the Western nations aliiances.

    We do corporate business with BRICS nations.

    Therefore – the United States needs to learn more about what they should be concerned with – especially the invasion on their doorstep right now with thousands of illegal aliens. That is a substantially greater threat than Russia at this time.

    March 14, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  13. quidestveritas

    oh, come on. obama already said the 80's called and want their cold war back. he ridiculed his opponents for suggesting that russia would be a problem in the future and since we all know obama's the most brilliant and prescient person ever to inhabit the white house we know that this poll is bogus and that anyone who thinks russia is really a threat is a fool.

    March 14, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Al

    Keep blabbing.

    March 14, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. emma leniuk dozois

    Why not take an other look at the pasenger list–,how many russians? Would Russia have had something to do with this plan missing to divert the worlds attention what it is really up to,!!!!

    March 14, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. aworkingAmerican

    So, suddenly W's warnings are real...

    March 14, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Grinning Libber

    Pure nonsense. Russia is NOTHING like the USSR of old....which itself was always over blown by the neocon war mongers.

    March 14, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  18. KGWhat

    "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because…the cold war’s been over for 20 years.” -Obama mocking Mitt Romney over Romney claiming that Russia is the #1 geopolitical foe of the U.S. during the presidential debates.

    March 14, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  19. FidyCents

    Yes American prestige and Obama towing his Nobel prize are working.

    March 14, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. shehar39

    Obama diplomacy fail

    March 14, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. Gurgyl

    Bull, but GOP is threat.

    March 14, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. alf564

    Somebody should tell the DUMBORATS what is going on in the real world....not the one they live in inside their heads!

    March 14, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. Thank you Mr Putin

    Russia is the good guy this time as the capitalist christian nation and leader. America is the bad guy pagan evil empire with the communist leader. Reagan was the last hope for America. Ukraine will fall to the Russians soon.

    March 14, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. Independent Voter

    Hmm, maybe Romney was right after all.

    March 14, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. steve

    Nobody like "Soundoff" comment boards. Use disqus.

    March 14, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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