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

    But wait, our President told us that we republicans were crazy for thinking of Russia that way. He told Romney that he was living in the cold war past and the world wasn't like that today.

    That's right. I didn't vote for that ideologue..

    March 14, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. JJR

    Weak and ineffective executive leadership (President) will have bad consequences.

    March 14, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Independable

    Points to whoever remembers when this was said, and by whom:

    "And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back. Because, you know, the Cold War's been over for 20 years."

    March 14, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. rufus floyd

    Most of us see our neighbor as a threat. So what?

    March 14, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. Person

    Russia has been ass backwards for hundreds of years. Putins probably out pulling a "Catherine the great" right now!

    March 14, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. FedUpToo

    Scare Bear Stare!

    March 14, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. frank

    Sure they do. Cutting military to pre-world war II levels, duh. Russia no longer fears us, in my opinion.

    March 14, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. Brian

    So, in other words, Mitt Romney was DEAD RIGHT.

    March 14, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. cali girl

    It's gonna be the Cold War all over again.

    March 14, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Tamov Deem

    No. Most see a television which plants ideas in their empty heads.

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. CJ

    Puting: A trendier and more coherent version of Bush.

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. dave

    The cold war included wars like with Korea and Vietnam, and a cost of trillions of dollars in arms build up. The cold war eventually led to the fall of the USSR, it is no more. There has never been a cold war with Russia, a capitalist Nation, not a communist Nation. There has never been a cold war between two capitalist Nations. Russia has a 2 trillion dollar gdp economy, largely based upon oil/gas. The US has a 17 trillion dollar gdp economy, the EU is a 17 trillion dollar gdp economy. The largest danger is likely that the Russian economy will collapse under Putin, then have all those nuke out on the market. Many Americans are pining for the bad old days of the cold war, so they can sell more weapons, and have a huge military build up, but 1st they have to find a communist Nation willing to wage a cold war, there aren't too many left.

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. ArthurP

    But hey it's an election year come back to us in 2015 and we will review the situation however, don't expect too much because 2016 is an election year, so come back to us in 2017 but again don't expect too much because 2018 is an election year......

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Donny

    This is just fear-mongering at it's laziest

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. E

    why haven't UN forces gone into Ukraine?
    I would think Ukrainians would welcome them.

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. irunner

    The 11% who have a favorable view of Putin are probably the extreme right-wing (Tea Party?) nuts.

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Jason

    In other words, all this poll shows is that Americans are still as dense as ever.....

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  18. Peter

    Here comes the anti-Russian rhetoric...at least the Russians have the decency to ensure there's a stable government inserted after a splintering.

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Brian

    Good to see that the low-info crowd finally caught up with Mitt Romney's take. Too little, too late...

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Gary

    Media and talking heads 1
    General public and sane people 0

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. midas360

    No surprising... we have an inept leader that is being taken advantage. We've been bickering about politics in this country ever since the financial crisis while Putin has maneuvered Russia back into power. In his eyes, we are weak with a inept leader.

    March 14, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. max099

    only because of organizations like cnn

    March 14, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. Carlos

    CONSPIRACY THEORY, MALAYSIAN PLANE: There is a possibility that someone could be trying to put an A-Bomb inside the plane. Irán was recently caught transporting weapons inside a ship; it didn't work. How difficult is it to build a runway in a remote Island away from radar and satellite usual paths and get the plane on the air again with an A-Bomb inside??... I'd be worried..

    March 14, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. Double Take

    Mitt Romney: The adult in the room.

    Voters: Got the government they deserved.

    March 14, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. Joe5

    Sure makes Romney look a lot smarter. Those who ridiculed him in 2012 should be embarrassed and should be rushing to apologize for their own short-sided blindness. And that includes Obama.

    March 14, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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