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

    Bill O'Reilly and Fox think the #1 threat to the US is the "War on Christmas."

    March 14, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. Simmon Cow

    We r 18 trillion in debt being the World Police!! Our interest debt is almost 500 billion a year. When we reach 1 trillion a year in interest a Greek collapse will occur. Can't keep borrowing to pay for World Police. Simpson Boles laid out the solution. No one in DC wants to do their job which is what is good for America, not the rest of the world.

    March 14, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. bobo

    Romney was right once again! I wish he was our President......

    March 14, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. Randal

    Romney was right. The press and the President scoffed at the idea. But dont worry Obama has our backs SMH

    March 14, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. TheOracle

    You know what angers me the most is all the people, including our "brilliant" non-political President, that laughed off Romney when he made this exact claim. That was mainly (but partially) based on economics, such as the oil cartel that lines up Russia, France, Venenzuela and Iran that outwardly practice policy against US interests. He was 100% right. But the supposedly educated blue-station population didn't understand the difference between a subversive economic war (oh and with a military backing) versus an arms-based war. Progressive intellectual-wannabes is more like it.

    March 14, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Ken

    Fujixman – If you are that unhappy living here, please move to France where you can run around and pick daisies and smoke all the weed you want.

    March 14, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Bubba Ray

    Putin's support among the Tea Party is at nearly 100%.

    March 14, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    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.
    ------------------------
    Gee, that sounds like Romney trying to clean up his original statement. How come you didn't post that? Hmm?

    March 14, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. bill

    obama shows his ignorance again-making fun of Romney for saying this in the debate???

    March 14, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Rhino

    Russia is no more of a threat than we are to them. Ukraine is in their backyard. There is a common history ( some pretty bad ) but there are ties. No, I don't agree with the occupation and "forced vote" being brought on by Putin. Looks like there will be a seperation of Ukraine after this is over and relations between US /Russia will be further strained. Maybe we and the EU can have a positive impact on the Kiev government.

    March 14, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. smith

    @Silence-Bush/Iraq, What about your wonderful democrats and Veitnam. A war based on a lie.

    March 14, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. LIght

    Threat to USA ? Some portion of 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 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. sixthromeo

    Russia supports Assad, Russia joins in with ethnic cleansing in Syria, Russia is a threat to the entire world including its own people, Who needs a new CCCP/USSR? No one but those, like Putin, who seek monetary gain.

    March 14, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Common sense

    Americans see Russian as a threat because the Media and this administration is brainwashing us into thinking so. Question is why? Is it to feed the military industrial complex with another pointless war? We need to focus on our own financial and political problems at home instead.

    March 14, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. more2bits

    It's a threat so long as Putin is in charge. As an ex-KGB officer he wants to destroy USA. I wouldn't be surprised if he is behind the flight 370 disappearance. I bet it was commandeered by those two Iranians that used stolen transports and it's already in Iran being retrofitted with nukes compliments of North Korea. Russia probably thinks it's better to support Iran and Syria to destroy Israel so that USA takes action against NK, Iran and Syria and then it can blame USA for even more evils. The real evil is Iran, NK, Russia, China and Syria. They are all in cohoots to destroy America as they know they can rule the world without USA around.

    March 14, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. opinionated

    what do you mean russia is a threat? obama informed me the cold war ended 20 years ago, and that putin was now our BFF?

    March 14, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. searshoja

    Well I conducted my own poll and the results are: Most see American stupidity as a threat to the United States.........

    March 14, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. Renegade

    Even the Russians don't like Putin, they're afraid of him because he deals with his adversaries by murder...

    March 14, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. Edmund Charles

    I believe that Russia is a 'regional', vice a world threat. It lacks the vision and economic strength to be anything more. Russia had a fantastic opportunity after the fall of Communism to self-reform itself, as China did starting in 1977, whereas China chose economic reforms and economic freedoms, Russia chose political freedom and a corrupted oligarchy for its traditional heavy industry economic model. I think one can make a definitive judgement today, that China chose wisely, Russia chose poorly. Russia never became a manufacturer of any consumer items or industry, all it did was take cronies from the old Communist system and allow these few individuals to corner the energy and mineral industries of the old USSR. China leads the world in cheap manufacturing and when it economically sneezes, the world gets a cold; when Russia sneezes, no one in the west notices except those on the border of Russia.

    March 14, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. RWB1956

    No Romney and Palin were not right about anything unless we are actually threatened. Maybe Mr.Putin feels emboldened with the help of Mr. Snowden's info.

    March 14, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. Bobby

    Russaphobia has alway run rampant in this country and still does thanks in part to CNN's acceptance and propagation of the US' propaganda.

    March 14, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. DaJimJam

    The threat of nuclear war is not even worth mentioning. The US has support this time. Russia is in the wrong and other nations are agreeing something needs to be done. If Russia used a nuclear weapon they better hope they get our launch sites because both nations are ended on that day. That said, if a war is started chances are Russia is going to be lacking allies. When the UN is against you, you will find it hard to find many friends. I mean I'm sure NK and China will help but I'm sure China will hapheartidly help since they have a huge stack in the American economy by our importation of their goods (you can't start a war with a trading partner).

    March 14, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Silence DoGood

    @Tampa Tim
    Bill O'Reilly and Fox think the #1 threat to the US is the "War on Christmas."
    -----------
    We should find a small island somewhere and tell these fools we located the evil empire that is attacking the Christmas. Put up a sign on this little island that says "Evul Empir – we hate the Chrismis". Give them little pointy sticks and send them there and tell them to defend the Christmas.

    March 14, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. danomite

    I think Putin is a threat but like always the people are drug along for the ride with their hawkish leaders.

    March 14, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. Wake up People!

    Another meaningless poll. How does less than 1000 Fox viewers represent America?

    March 14, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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