CNN Poll: Most see Russia as a threat to U.S.
March 14th, 2014
01:01 PM ET
8 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. currency1896

    so putin, the american people only give you an 11% favorable rating, not to worry, that is still a couple points higher than what the american people give to CONGRESS !!!!!

    March 14, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Gabblin

    Russia's territorial grab is against international law not to mention they are harboring the traitor Snowden from US authorities.

    March 14, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. Joseph Brown

    Then more than half of Americans are IDIOTS.
    China is the big threat, no Russia.

    March 14, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Wake up People!

    Mittens may have been right but who gives a damn. He's nobody but a regular citizen, not the POTUS.
    --------
    If "Mittens" was right, then Obama was (and is) wrong. And that's worth giving a damn, because he IS the POTUS.

    March 14, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Justice786

    Putin has never changed. He is still the former KGB director and lives in a world of fantasy where he sees himself as the tzar-like ruler of Russia. We tried to soften his image, but reality came roaring back with respect Syria, Iran and now Ukraine/Crimea. It is time we expose him for what he is and Russia for what it is. They will never be friends of our country and of democracy (and neither will China).

    March 14, 2014 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. Bud

    Sorry. This sounds like the U.S. Govt. is trying to whip the Sheeple into a frenzy over Ukraine. How is Russia a threat to the U.S. ? Because they sent troops into Ukraine ? How exactly does that "threaten" the U.S. ? IMO, it doesnt effect the U.S. one bit.

    March 14, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    It's apparent they haven't polled the people that comment here. They praise Putin. They become 0rgasmic when they feel like he's beating Obama. Come on Fox-lite, ask some of your loyal RWNJ's how they feel about Ole Vlad. You might be surprised.

    March 14, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. CoreGen

    Yea, boya – we da chosen people decide who this water fluoridated nation will love and "afraid"!

    March 14, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. sly

    Americans are not generally a bright bunch, and Russia certainly poses no threat to America.

    This entire trumped up 'issue' is none of our damn business.

    March 14, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. t2vodka

    Why are Americans always so scared of everything?

    March 14, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    That's not quite what Romney said. Romney had said that Russia was the number one NUCLEAR threat in the world. Pres. Obama disagreed with him, and identified Iran and N. Korea as the top NUCLEAR threats in the world. Romney was properly criticized for ignoring the threats from Iran and N. Korea. How could he be so careless as to ignore them? The rising nuclear threat of both countries has been a long, drawn out talking point against the President's foreign policy record.
    --–
    Actually, Romney called Russia the number one geopolitcal threat to the United States. The record is out there in the public domain.
    --------------------–
    You might be right about the exact phrasing. I recall the conversation had been about rogue nuclear nations, though, when Romney identified Russia as the greatest threat. I also remember Romney jumping the gun and raising hay about the attacks in Benghazi while the situation on the ground was still in progress.

    Frankly, it makes no difference to me what conservatives say about foreign policy. Most of the leaders have demonstrated that they are nothing more than war mongers. Republicans are just going to make noise about Ukraine because it is an opportunity to make noise. If you ask them what they would do and they decide to give an honest answer, they'll tell you exactly what is being done already.

    March 14, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. sparky

    What we need is Meester Boosh to look into Putin's soul again and then take him for a ride in his pickup truck

    March 14, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. richard miller

    I fear my own government more than any Russian. I fear the warmongers in congress.

    March 14, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. Enough is Enough

    @Rudy "Russia I indicated is a geopolitical foe... and I said in the same - in the same paragraph I said, and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face."

    Since your memory appears to be failing you Rudy, I pulled up the quote for you.

    @Tony in STL – Look up statistical analysis and then get back to the class.

    And I do love how the comments here move to the left as the day wears on....glad you folks could join the rest of us!

    March 14, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. Andrey

    According to the poll 69% of Americans are dumb brainwashed shеерle.

    March 14, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. Jeff

    Propaganda to turn americans against Russia so the war mongers can play their deadly game of war. With over 150 congressmen and senators owning stock in war making is it any wonder why the push for war is non stop in this country?

    March 14, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. John R. Buckley

    Not a surprise really. The US media and government has swayed public opinion to make the Russians not to mention Iran into tyrants. It's nothing new. We did the same with Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan.

    March 14, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. Chris-E...al

    Just because Russia has two nuke subs off the east coast and a supply ship in cuba dont make them a threat yea sounds like one to me .

    March 14, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. hatenapa

    I think we should immediately give Obama a trillion dollars to build new weapons system like we did Reagan.

    March 14, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. hello

    Can we give Russia Calif? it would be a huge benefit to the US tax payers... Let the Russians feed the freeloaders.

    March 14, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Bogus

    After the NSA scandal, the US is doing a pretty good job with the propaganda against Russia.

    March 14, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. harrisonhits2

    I grew up in the height of the Cold War. Duck and cover drills when I was in first and second grade, the scariness of the Cuban Missle Crisis on TV terrifying to everyone, the specter of nuclear war constantly hanging over everyone's heads, the massive armies maintained at vast expense in Europe to defend against a possible Soviet invasion, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

    I had hoped that we'd never have to live with stupidity on that scale again. Now Putin who seems intent on restoring the Soviet Empire and the western nations are headed towards the same insanity all over again. Hopefully calmer heads will prevail and stop a full blown return to a new Cold War.

    March 14, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. Polls Mann Recordew

    9/6/2003 8:10 AM
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists' strike against this country.

    Sixty-nine percent in a Washington Post poll published Saturday said they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it's likely Saddam was involved.

    The belief in the connection persists even though there has been no proof of a link between the two.

    March 14, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. hello

    WE can throw in Pelosi... to sweeten???? the deal...

    March 14, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  25. Karma Bongwadda

    We are perceived as weak because, to the extent we have a foreigh policy, it is waffly. Putin is flapping his trap, running shirtless and peeing on the trees in the Ukraine to mark it all as Russian soil or at least a Russian Satellite. Exxon, Mobil and a few with major investments in the Ukraine are getting antsy.

    This is all a diversion for something more sinister. Let us look closely around the planet on what's going on behind the scenes. It will likely be of no benefit but the uber rich global billionaires.

    March 14, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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