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

    way to try to create animosity cnn.... everyone knows we could blow them away with the slightest of ease. The military probably have weapons we don't even know about.

    March 14, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. VJ

    I don't think so....We are threat to many countries not Russia... If media portrays a country bad, then people will think in same way... That is pure and simple... If our media portrays evenly then you will see the different result. This is my opinion.
    Remember W and Cheney portrayed Iraq bad, at that time W had higher approval ratings... It is that simple....

    March 14, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Manipulated poll

    After the American media continuosly subjectively character assasinates Putin since his re-election, as well as Russia, is this a surprise.

    March 14, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. Billyob23

    How has russia made things worse for the U.S. ? Last time I checked, I body here was affected by the situation in Crimea. Ukranians and Russians are brothers, they will figure this out on their own.

    March 14, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. joe

    ROFL! Why not have a poll and see how many people think the US us a threat to the world!

    March 14, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. allenwoll

    In my opinion, Russia utterly pales to the threat the U S and the Multi-National Corporate Oligarchy poses to the security and the prosperity of this nation and her people ! ! !

    March 14, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. alf564

    Oh yes I forgot, anything going to happen to the Russians for the laws they are supposedly breaking...
    Nope, NOT IN THIS WORLD !!!

    March 14, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. jeff

    Mitt Romney made it abundantly clear that Russia was the biggest threat in a 2012 debate with Mr. Obama. Mr. Obama chose to laugh him off. it's on you tube.

    March 14, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. hatenapa

    Chicken Little syndrome.

    March 14, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. Brian

    Let's reduce the military!!

    March 14, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. dhoti

    Russians might see U.S. the same way but other way around.

    March 14, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Kev

    Most people see the treat because the read trash news. The believe their US Government and the propaganda. If you read something other than CNN and the other trash media in the USA you will see that Russia has a right to existence on this planet as well as any country.

    March 14, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. William

    "Moscow's actions in neighboring Ukraine break international law" if its ok for America to break international law, why not Russia????

    March 14, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Larry L

    Even a thug like Vladimir Putin understands the consequences of nuclear war. The world is always going to experience these situations where power-hungry leaders use brinksmanship to test the limits for expanding their span of control. Economic isolation requires discipline for those using that form of coercion, but it is the only practicable option. Those depending on Russia's oil and natural gas must be willing to lose that source of energy – or face a future of Russian blackmail. Those who enjoy plentiful energy must be willing to pay more as energy is traded on the world market without the Russian supply. That is the only path that makes sense for the long run.

    March 14, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. Outside looking in

    Glad to know that a sample of 800 ppl can result in a headline saying MOST see Russia as a threat. I would like to take the "headline" class in journalism...what a joke

    March 14, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    "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."

    Nearly half would also be 4 in 10 without actual numbers. Sensationalize much?

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

    Most Americans except for Obama who during the presidential debate ridiculed Romney for suggesting that Putin was a threat.

    March 14, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. Sick Rantorum

    Fear Mongering Media wins again. Russia is no threat.

    March 14, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. TFD

    American Pravda

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

    "Moscow's actions in neighboring Ukraine break international law" if its ok with America to break international law why not Russia?????

    March 14, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. anon

    I see the US doing the same predictable overthrow of a government in Ukraine just like they did in Chile, Nicaragua, Panama, Laos, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and trying to do in Syria but funding terrorist groups like al-Nusra. Only this time they did this next to a country with a leader smarter than ours and tough enough to stand up to it. Every single thing you hear John Kerry of Obama criticize Putin for doing is the exact same thing the US has been doing for decades.

    The killing fields of the Khymer Rouge... you're welcome. And that's just the beginning. The world is going to get sick and tired of our Empire building one day.

    March 14, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. SteveO

    You think?

    March 14, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. mike

    New: Most of the world sees the US as a threat, also most Americans have no understanding of history or geography.

    March 14, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  24. Evgeny

    Interesting, most people that I know here in US are opposing US intervention in other countries' affairs such as Ukraine and actually see US as a threat to the world, not Russia. Of course, one has to consider the manufacturers of this poll... When you click on a breaking news link on C-N-N about a disaster in Harlem because you are worried for the peoples' lives, and first thing you see is a 30 second advertisement, it tells you a little bit about the motivation and priorities of such a news network.

    March 14, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. snake pliskin

    Ummm,Mr. Obama... this is the 80's (remember when the Berlin wall fell and the Soviet empire collapsed).... if you like we can send you our foreign policy back......

    March 14, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14