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

    Obama and his puppet masters and the dumbed down US citizens are the threat. Not Russia. Give me a break!

    March 14, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. Obama the communist

    Obama is a more serious threat to the US than Putin.

    March 14, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. YeahBuddy

    Russia may be a threat, but the greatest threat to the longevity of America is Americans.
    No doubt, 'we the people' are destroying our own country.

    March 14, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Russia, a threat? How quickly we forget the 2014 Olympic Games.

    March 14, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Ben Afflekus

    In other BREAKING NEWS 90% of the rest of the world feel that USA is a threat of the world and have unfavorable opinion of US presidents. Oh and had it for decades.

    March 14, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. mattk

    I should watch Dr. Stranglove again...

    March 14, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. Charles

    Russia threat to US? Have you looked at the map? Last time i've checked, Crimea was not attached to Texas.

    March 14, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. David

    No. Russia is not a threat to the United States. Iowa is in no danger from Russia. Georgia or the Ukraine (or any of the old Russian/Soviet territories that aren't in NATO) are in danger. Russia needs us infinitely more than we need them. This isn't the old USSR days. Remember what "stores" and shopping looked like then? It was a horrible empty store of junk. Now they have a middle class, "markets", shopping malls filled with western stores, Starbucks and BMW dealerships. Russia NEEDS the west. We don't need them, we don't buy Russian computers, Russian cars, Russian planes, or Russian movies. The only thing Russia has at all, like North Dakota, is some natural resources (oil/gas) which a chunk of Europe uses (but not us really). So Iowa is in now danger from Russia. Russia does NOT want the west to pull out and close all their fancy western shopping malls and turn Russia back into what it looked like in 1982. The new middle class/wealthy there WANT western goods. If they couldn't get them, it would be a revolt.

    March 14, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. kiddingme

    Did anyone really think the Sleeping Bear was dead?

    March 14, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. sumguy2006

    Apparently Romney was right all along! Another Obama fail.

    March 14, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. shoos

    blah blah blah

    March 14, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. Bill from GA

    First, our country chooses to immediately recognize a group of rebels that overthrew the elected government, since they probably did it with our financial support and lean toward our viewpoint. Then, a group who doesn't agree with the rebels is discounted and their opinion is not recognized, as they lean toward their historical roots.

    There is a violent crisis in Syria, and we stay out, yet we pick a fight with Russia over Crimea.

    March 14, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. keith

    Yeah thanks to the Media and God....

    March 14, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Billy Shears

    "Most Americans?" Romney said it during the last election and was micked by the media for doing so.

    March 14, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Ralph

    President Obama, the 90's are calling they want their foreign policy back.

    March 14, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. Mark

    Putin has scared me every since he initially took office. I've always felt he was an imperialist. He tried with Georgia and it didn't work, but now look what he's doing with the Ukraine. He's trying to anex part of the country. This is the mindet of Stalin, Lenin, and...dare I saw...Hitler. Obama sound have taken him more seriously, but that's in the past. We have to pray Obama does the righ thing. Remember The Day After? I'm not saying this is going to lead to a nuclear war, but in that movie it all started with a small military maneuver that escallated fast. Word War I started from a assassination in Sarajevo. Somehow this has to be nipped in the bud.

    March 14, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. Billy Shears

    "Most Americans?" Romney said it during the last election and was mocked by the media for doing so.

    March 14, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Silence DoGood

    The conservatives are using this for all it is worth. Fear is crucial in manipulating the voter base. The US under Bush invaded a sovereign nation under lies and false pretense and killed 1000's and no one launched a nuke.

    March 14, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Jim

    Nothing new. This has always been the case!

    March 14, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. Jerry Padgett

    No the biggest threat is the U.S. Government. starting frivolous wars, spying on its on citizens, President going around the law like a dictator, Obamacare, I could go on. If we stay on this path we will be a threat to ourselves and the world.

    March 14, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Jax Beach Son

    Here goes the Defense budget again! I am more afraid of going to a Theater!

    March 14, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. Manuel

    So what happens now? Start a war?

    March 14, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  23. Elb

    Saw this coming in 2003 when oil price went tripled.

    March 14, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. Dan

    Thanks to Snowden, Russia poses a major threat to all US computers. Most US companies naively rely on companies like Microsoft and Apple to secure their networks. This puts us all in danger.
    Wake up CEO's, do not trust your entire survival to outside interests. A single source like Microsoft is easier for Russia to hack than millions of businesses with their own security solution.

    Thanks to US businesses moving manufacturing to China, Communist China poses a major threat to all Americans as well.

    It's time businesses remember, Russia and China can invade countries in their region so fast that entire US businesses could be shutdown in a day or two. Wake up CEO's, manufacturing in the US is vital to our security.

    March 14, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. Steve Kaplan

    Putin can not be trusted! At 5' 5" he has the
    "SHORT MAN SYNDROME "
    If the republicans and the democrats stick together the USA will put this crazy man in his place!

    March 14, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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