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. Terrence

    The numbers on this poll are the opposite among the US military.

    March 14, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Bribarian

    ZZZzzz more propaganda

    March 14, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Ruth

    I saw Obam's resume......community organizer and a senator.....happy now?.....not presidential material to me.....l would not even let him take care of my cat or dog let alone take over American lives....what idiots for voting for this person

    March 14, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. johnny

    Russia a threat to U.S.A? Washington is supporting a fascist dictatorship in Ukraine. USA is a threat to humanity in my opinion.

    March 14, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. Rick

    Wonderful. The military-industrial complex is trying to start ANOTHER Cold War (the first one courtesy of the Rand Corp.) and divert more of our tax dollars to those arms manufacturers.

    March 14, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. AJ

    After 40+ years of Cold War rhetoric, of course most people say Russia is a threat.

    March 14, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. johnny

    Go to Rt news you will get better news

    March 14, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. carl nelson

    New poll out shows 69% of Amerikans are afraid of their shadow. Especially when the media goes off saber rattling like they do. War Profit$.

    March 14, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. bobo

    I'm Glad Hillary Clinton had that "Reset" Button!!!

    March 14, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. jdawg

    As a Canadian I fear the American government more than the Russians. The hypocrisy is sickening.

    March 14, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. yogi

    The GOP/TP is the biggest threat to the U.S. Did they include the question in the poll if people knew where on the map the Crimea is? I bet that the majority of those polled have no idea where it is and neither of the history of the Crimea. The result of this poll only shows how dumb, uneducated and ignorant a large chunk of the population is.

    March 14, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. Name Uche Agonsi

    Everything else threatens US...Russia, China, Moslem Hardliners, North Korea, Snowden, Mexico Immigrants, Cuba, Libya, Somali, ...the list is endless, even EEC Countries like Germany(economically). But the BIGGEST THREAT to US is internal.... The never do anything GOPers in US Congress.

    March 14, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. Kabal

    Just fyi, Putin's rating in Russia has reached a historical maximum – 70%

    March 14, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Gentle reason

    Russia is not a threat to us. They know that any act of war directly against us will result in the destruction of their entire country, No one on Earth has more nuclear weapons than we do.

    March 14, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. menisino

    Obama & the E.U. don't even have the nerve to kick Russia out of the G 7. how gutless can you get? The free world did , for decades , very well without the USSR , let alone Russia that stands alone. My God, Obama, Merkel, Cameron what does it take for you to wake up.? Your "sanctions" are pathetic , laughable, & at the same time shameful. Putin just must be chuckling with Lavrov at your gullibility , weaknesses.....disgusting.

    March 14, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Steve

    You guys are very short sighted. If the tables were turned – the USA would do the same thing. The USA (mainly NULAND AND MCCAIN) organized a coup and overthrow an key Russian ally. This ally is close in both geo-policitical and mutual defence. That is – Russia had bases there, etc, Now to make matters worse - those that the USA backed are actually associated with known NAZIs. Some of those NAZIS have threantened Russia citizens. This is all verifiable if you do research. We would not be in this position if NULAND AND MACCAIN did not push this coup to over throw a Russian ally. I blame NULAND 100% for this.

    March 14, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. Sherry

    I've been trying to figure out from the beginning how Russia's actions in the Ukraine could have any affect on the U.S. in the first place. How, exactly, does this pose a threat to our security? Because I just don't see it. Personally, I don't think it's any of our business what goes on over there. We have enough of our own problems here at home to worry about.

    March 14, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. Ken

    Common sense – Wow the aliens really did a job on you when they abducted you. Really, the US is brainwashing us now that's funny! This has nothing to do with Russia, but I'm guessing you think there are currently no issues in the middle east and probably think 9/11 was a Gov't conspiracy.

    March 14, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  19. TheOracle

    Wow...as I mentioned many of you are very uneducated. Russia is not a traditional cold war threat. Yes, they have a strong military and a still a nuclear weapons stockpile. BUT they understand that economics is the real winner against the US. I was dead against the recent Iraq war from the get go (scoffed at WMDs from day one), but the two countries that voted against it in the UN were Russia and France. Russian-interests owned the majority of oil refineries, France owned some oil and all the telecommunications infrastructure. They saw a US invasion as a riskto very national-sponsored companies (surprise...Haliburton and our friend Cheney, got many of the contracts). It was out of pure economics. It isn't the media making something out of nothing even if they are sensationalistic. The media screams now because it is easy. The truth is that Russia and France have a strong interest in limiting US economic interests in the EU and other places. Oil is the key factor in hurting our economy. Long-term, Russia has the last set of reserves in the world (hard to get to, but there). Their policies (with our other buddies..Venezuela and Iran) are meant to make it harder for us to get oil and drive up prices to hurt our economy. It is what drives our costs, which enables business to compete. People need to read more than just the headlines on a front page or blindly follow who they perceive to be a "cool dude" as President. Obama knew the score and made his statement to cater to the "feel-good" intellectuals who think Russia is our friend now. So disappointing.

    March 14, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  20. peterz

    Why Putin able to be on off in power. Because communism had destroyed the promising layer of to-be the leader politicians. I thought if EU and US did the sanction to weaken Putin's capability then a chance to change Russia course without needing a war

    March 14, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. canadianje

    there are alot of russians on here pretending to be americans. russians are so bloody stupid they think that we believe that these comments are from americans. the whole freaking world hates russians, and these fake commenters arent changing that. i hope we bomb you into the ground and make your cities look even worse than they already do.

    March 14, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14