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

    US spends $682 billion on military, Russia spends $90 billion (not even 15% as much). US has pushed NATO right to Russia's borders by adding Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Czech Rep, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania. Who on our borders has Russia expanded its military into? Russia wants to peacefully annex Crimea which was ALWAYS Russian. Meanwhile I type this while sitting on land the US forcibly and bloodily annexed from Mexico. It is laughable to think Russia threatens the US. It's the exact opposite.

    March 14, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. S Trickey

    Why do we think Russia is a threat?, because our media distorts the truth and has done so for over 100 years. Our gov't is on a mission to steal resources for private companies, but we but we often use laws now instead of brute force. Of course it looks like Russia is a threat, but thats only if you don't know history of what the world bank and IMF are all about.

    March 14, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Scott

    Hmmm well I guess everyone that was bagging on Romney for saying this a couple years ago should apologize. Never understood why Americans hated him so much. I think it was jealously.

    Sincerely,

    A Norwegian

    March 14, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. James

    I can not believe how we American's have so many people here that live in fear so much. As a veteran I am shame to say, I live with a bunch of cowards and hate the fact that when the going get's tough, my people sh.. in their pants more then the opposing side. That is how we raised our society, to fear everyone else, but ourselves. We talk a lot and do nothing. That is what this stupid poll says. But I will say this, The Media just loves to put these lies in your head and you will eat it up like the cowards that you are. I'm American and fear no one and I say bring it on.

    March 14, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Mike

    hey Obama, kindergarten called, they want their foreign policy back.

    March 14, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. Darlene

    The biggest threat to America is ignorance and fear-mongering.

    March 14, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Peter

    Really? Did you poll the Pantophobic society or something?

    March 14, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. G

    Americans fear everything and everyone, it's just a people who's scared to death of dying, plus they know very little beyond their belly bottom... some don't even know what's the State capitol of South Dakota, I work with lots of stupid dumb Americans, unfortunately

    March 14, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Guest

    but the mantra of the dems "what difference does it make." When you allow other nations to massacre our embassies/consulates and you do NOTHING, this is what you get.

    March 14, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Dipa

    Military size matters, now we feel unsecure because we don't have enough size and power in comparison with Russian military...Good Luck GOD, save us..

    March 14, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Wag the Dog

    I don't have to look to far to see the real threat to me as an American. He is right in D.C.

    March 14, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. jim

    Guess Romney and Palin aren't so dumb after all since they could see the threat before it was an actuality. And to think, Palin is a fool and Obama is heralded as a genius....

    March 14, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. jack2

    Nothings changed. Russia has always been a threat. They have nuclear weapons pointed at us as we do them. any war with them would esculate into a full scale nuclear war. One mishap or glitch could cause a war also now that computers run the world. Would they ever try to invade us? No.

    March 14, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. Jason

    Better headline: Most American's Now Join Romney in Recognizing Russia as a Threat to America.

    March 14, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Jonathan Sabia

    IF it happens, I will be ready. I suggest to all of you, my brothers, my AMERICAN BROTHERS, to be ready for war!

    March 14, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  16. Justin

    LOL! Prepping the American people eh? Starting the mental propaganda early. So how many military bases does Russia have near the US? Must have many considering they are a "threat" the he US huh?

    March 14, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. dan

    Most people still believe in angels.

    March 14, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Rudy Haugeneder -- CANADA

    The most reputable pundits watching the constantly escalating Crimea situation view the Lavrov-Kerry talks which ended today as the last chance for diplomacy to fix the problem.
    After listening to both men speak at news conferences today, it appears the crisis is likely to escalate hereafter and, if history is a precedent, war that can easily spread globally - nuclear armed China supports Russia - is the a likely outcome and could result in the nuclear conflagration we all feared before the supposed Cold War ended.
    So, if you have, for example, $20,000 in a bank account, it may be time to withdraw much of it and have survival cash at home, as well as any gold, silver and precious metals and jewels that can be exchanged for anything your family needs to survive if war unfolds.

    March 14, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. Bill from GA

    Kerry implies that our sanctions will hurt Russia's economy.

    Russia could cut off the natural gas to Europe, which will hurt their economy. EU is a major trading partner with the USA, and any further slowdown there will hurt our economy.

    EU's economy is barely growing, and ours is not doing so great, either. Is the idea of giving the people of Crimea a choice on siding with the rebel government in Ukraine, or siding with Russia, worth the possible effects on the world economy that could occur?

    March 14, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. Adam

    For once, JUST ONCE, can we as Americans take a unbiased look at Russia's actions and consider their validity before we start World War Stupid?

    March 14, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. sean

    800 people is considered most Americans? Thats 1/375000 of america

    March 14, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. spudsy80

    Actually, We believe that Kerry and Obama are more of a threat than Putin and Russia.

    March 14, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Questioneverything

    So, exactly how many Americans took this poll? Because I know for a fact the entire us population didn't take it, as your article so clearly looks over, this poll was conducted by CNN, a mostly liberal news outlet, and with that, (and the articles that have been made the last few weeks about evil Russia) IM not surprised how the poll turned out, I don't take part in either side, be it liberal, or conservative, and I believe in open discussion, but the poll cant be taken seriously, and it in no way, represents the whole US population.

    March 14, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Bob

    I wont be a bit surprised if Russia was involved in the missing Plane..

    March 14, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. BILL, WI

    Putin has already said Russia is going to do what Russia needs to do in the Ukraine. Assume Putin and others in a leadership role in Russia already considered that the West will impose sanctions either banking, trade and economic sanctions. And they still went ahead with the invasion that shows their total lack of concern over the sanctions the U.S. and EU might impose. Phase Two, what is the U.S. and EU supposed to do if Russia does not back down.

    March 14, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14