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. Mark

    Since when a sample of 801 (.00267%) represent the opinion of 300+ million ( 99.99733%) population? This is a selected poll to fit the view of a few.

    March 14, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. just asking

    Donny
    This is just fear-mongering at it's laziest
    -–

    tell that to the ukrainians and georgians that have had their countries invaded by russia. might want to wake up and look around.

    March 14, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. Bernard

    OHH Please!! American foreign policy is the definition of hypocrisy. The USA is a threat to the world.

    March 14, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. dajowi

    While a good number of Americans find Obama a threat to America.

    March 14, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Taken4granted

    Not surprised. With Russia kind of having the upperhand on Iran, Syria, and Ukraine conflicts and Eric Snowden issue, did contributed to the American assessments of threat to US, no brainer there. The US is kind of not leading but following through if a conflict exists. Yes the US is good in executing sanctions to these countries but the "perception" of Leading is not there anymore unless we are directly threatened. That is just my opinion.

    March 14, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. drcid777

    Russia led by anyone but Putin is no threat and could be a real partner with the U.S.
    But any rising politician in Russia critical of Putin is imprisoned for financial or other "irregularities".
    Putin has been playing that "Only I can save you from the West" card which is more insulting to the Russian people than his never relinquishing power. Russia will flourish once Putin has exited.

    March 14, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Mike Smith-Really

    How's the Kumbaya working for you now.Squandered the peace dividend on red lines.

    March 14, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Ted

    That's exactly what Putin wants – set up US and EU as the "enemy" of Russia to increase his control of people and the state. The "enemy" doctrine has worked for USSR apparatchiks and justified poor living conditions of the Russians. And if the oligarchs loose their wealth due to sanctions, that would only please the ordinary Russians even more.

    March 14, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    America needs to mind its own business, and not go to every country and destroy other land, they need to focus on its own people, and help Americans, not new criminal kiev leaders.

    March 14, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. Reggie53

    Our president made fun of Romney when he said that same thing in the debate. Obama has no leadership skills and that is why we are in this situation. Obama only knows how to give away freebies to get votes. Typical Chicago style politician. Buy your votes!!!!!!

    March 14, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. 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 this network 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 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. nk

    Russia is a threat to the U.S. However, the U.S. is a bigger threat to itself than Russia is.

    March 14, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. fledamerica

    People are so stüpid. Why would Russia be any more of a threat than it was 30 years ago? The only country that has breached Sovereign borders without recourse is the U.S. They still violate borders with Drone strikes. At least the Ukraine population is mostly Russians that want Russian government. I can't recall any American's in any country invaded by the U.S.... Well....NEVER actually. When is the last time Russia did anything worth mention towards the U.S. directly? I doubt anyone will answer this. A threat to the U.S. what a bunch of paranoid people. Stop watching FOX news and get on with your lives.

    March 14, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Mike

    Where the heck do they take these polls?
    No, I don't see them as a threat, and please stay out of the world's conflicts. American children do not need to return to war . I want to see our soldiers come home healthy to their families and defend our nation from here!

    March 14, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. budshot

    Just shows how stupid this country is. Russia is a threat to some of far eastern Europe, former members of the Soviet Union, and that's about it.

    March 14, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Exactly what American politicians and the military industrial complex wants. They have for years. Pretty much fed up with the entire lot of them.

    March 14, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. Rightster

    If Russia had helped fund an overthrow of the Canadian democratically elected government, and urged the newly installed mob to disavow any elections, maybe the Russians would view the US as a threat, too?

    March 14, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. OldSchool

    Did they do any polling on how many "American's" hatred of Obama has surpassed their love of their country?

    March 14, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Nad

    Treat a friend as a friend. The problem of our foreign policy is US playing a double game in geo politics which really lot of countries do not like i.e. Russia. Russia is doing the same politics what US and NATO did with Yugoslavia. We should not forget this.

    March 14, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. TONE

    The biggest threat to America are stupid voters.

    March 14, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. budshot

    Right wingers will lie about anything, even in polls, to attack Obama. Obama is probably the best president this country has had in decades. Stupid conservatives – always letting hate and ignorance lead them.

    March 14, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Gurgyl

    GOP is a threat internally, it is American Al Queda.

    March 14, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. marcia

    WHAT!! Not the same Putin who 90% of Republicans were in love with six months ago and wanted to honor with a Nobel Peace Prize??? "He is a GEM"...How's that working out for ya?

    March 14, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. bob

    Didn't Romney already know this in the debates?

    March 14, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. sigh

    Who actually buys the crap these "polls" sell? Fear, now on sale at Russia's expense!

    March 14, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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