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

    Get the Super bowl ring back !

    Patriots !

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

    The biggest threat to the US is the US. We need to stop focusing on the worlds problems, telling them how to fix their problems, when we have a significant number of our own problems that are not being addressed. Lead by example, not by the sword.

    March 14, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Balls of Steel

    Leave Russia as is, they eventually will implode just like the USSR.

    March 14, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. fujixman

    Good ol'USA!! They always need an enemy to keep the war machine going. Gotta keep those jobs in the defense industry. Russia is no more a threat then Jamaica is. Get over yourselves

    March 14, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Alex

    Great. Now I get to worry about getting vaporized in a nuke strike again.

    March 14, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. Paul H

    Russia could care less about what America thinks or says and why should they. Russia has been nipping away at American creditability throughout the world for the last 5 years as most honest Americans can attest to. It has been easy when supplied the actions this administration has taken, diminished integrity and very little honor, if any. Both, Republican and the Socialist Democratic parties are to blame as much as the inept White House administration who have turned a blind eye to the passive aggression that has come from that side of the world,, this isn't over.

    March 14, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    I just think he is a big bully, invading a sovereign nation under false pretenses and then lying about it!
    We're talking about Bush, right?

    March 14, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Joe Lamb

    Reading all these comments now I understand why Putin is pushing and has no fear, simply he sees us as a weak nation, he understand that we have not good memory and we don't learn from History lessons. 1) Don't trust a ex Russian KGB 2) We are surrounded of enemies that wants the USA out, like all the pseudo communist countries in Europe and Latin America and even inside the USA 3) Russia's Putin sees the moment and is testing us. yes they are a threat and they can take advantage of the world envy of the USA

    March 14, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. Monomachos

    Romney was right, Obama was wrong. Again.

    March 14, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. LIght

    Threat to USA ? Media in America is very propaganda based. I don't mind reading A,B,C,D... to Z instead of these kind of articles. On next page, they can publish all in small letter like a,b,c,d...to z. If they really run out of any creative thoughts they might as well publish 1,2,3,4... to infinity. They will never run out of texts & letter to publish. Oh wait a minute , is number 1387659874 also a threat to US ? I am sure at least some folks of your survey would say 'yes' .

    March 14, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. djthp

    Who wouldn't feel threatened by a country whose leaders once threatened to "bury" us and, after losing the cold war and their national pride, elect a retro-leader intent on regaining their so-called rightful place as a dominating world power by bringing us to the brink of new cold war. A hot war is simply unthinkable... but things don't look optimistic in that regard, either. Why can't they abide a NATO-affiliated nation on their border??? Why do they see NATO as an enemy?? Why can't they simply get along with their neighbors rather than need to dominate them?

    March 14, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. The Living Tribunal

    @djjimi, no kidding. Russia is s hollow shell compared to itself during the Cold War. I predict that's what America will look like too 40 – 50 years from now, with China the world's only superpower. It's pretty staggering how we absolutely refuse to stand up to China and how we continue to allow them to pulverize us when it comes to international trade. We're going to pay the price for this weakness, big time.

    March 14, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    @Brady: "Our President is clueless, he could be outfoxed and manipulated by a fifth grader…."
    ---------–
    And note this same guy will probably claim Obama is a savvy dictator completely in charge of all military, computers and surveillance and likely controlling our minds.

    March 14, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. Crampon

    Most smart people see the threat, but again, Obama did not see it. In fact he ridiculed Romney for being in the smart group.

    March 14, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. WillB

    Ok, the sampled 800 "older" Americans (landline, random calling…..can not call cellphones/illegal). And of those 800 in the non-representative sample, they got exactly the result that they wanted. Wonder why they did not sample anyone under 45, could it be because that would produce a result they did not want…..maybe.

    March 14, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  16. WillB

    A rigged poll……..and everyone knows it apparently.

    March 14, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. sunmines

    Man, I wish the President was a boxer instead of a basketball player. He needs to tell Putin that if he puts troops into Ukraine and the Crimea that we will kill all of them. Period.

    March 14, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. stevetaller

    Dear fellow citizens, Snap out of it. The Cold War is over, and they probably have more to fear from us than we have to fear from them. Don't bite on this crap. There's plenty of things going on in the world where we can make a positive difference, but being scared isn't a good frame of mind to accomplish anything big. I think this is just more fear being whipped up to scare you into voting Republican. DON'T DO IT!

    March 14, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. In other news

    50% of Americans are still too stupld to vote.

    March 14, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. an american

    It is not about Russia. It is about the week president whom Putting F...ed few times
    You can imagine what may happen when a female president will be elected

    March 14, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Lolo

    Well we know the truly conservative folks want a war and if so they better start training and getting their families ready to go to Russia. They need to be worrying about America and not about overseas. I have never seen a group of people like the GOP/TP Klan. They love cutting off their noses to spite their faces. People please get out there and vote.They may win the south, but they won't win the war. There are so many poor white people in the red states it is shameful. Don't deny it because I was born in the south and saw it every day. The Rethugs have really sold them out, but because of their hatred for people of color they can't see the forrest for the trees.

    March 14, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  22. verumestverum

    Unlike the Soviet Union, which had a considerable GDP, the GDP of modern Russia is about equal the the US state of New Jersey. In the Cold War with the Soviet Union we destroyed them economically...this time it won't even be a challenge.

    March 14, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. Cascade

    Russia IS a threat to the U.S.

    I have lived in Moscow for years and I speak fluent Russian. All Russian state controlled media spews anti American propaganda EVERY SINGLE DAY. Specifically about how weak the American military is.

    Russia sees the U.S. as the #1 threat, and always has. Putin hates the U.S. with a passion.

    March 14, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. laughable

    i think we must realize that Russia needs to be denounced globally! only then, can we find real peace and stability in the world!

    March 14, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. oldSailor

    So Mitt Romney was right in the debate...

    March 14, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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