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. Tommy G

    This can only mean.... it is time for another good knee slapping of a Russian leaders knee by our feckless leader from behind!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Push the old "Russian Reset Reset Button"!!! BWAHAHAHAHA!!!! Clueless community organizer continues his clueless march to being the worse president in our history.

    March 14, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. Gene

    Russia is becoming a Nazi state under Putin and is a threat to the whole world!
    There is a "possibility of nuclear war with Russia" as Russian leader is losing his mind invading a sovereign country affronting civilized world yet using huge lie just like Hitler did in 1939.

    March 14, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. Jesse

    I would agree Russia is a threat. We have been getting played by them through the deals with Syria and Iran. Putin knows a weak leader when he sees one. Just look at how Kerry is begging for a deal with the Kremlin on Ukraine. Now that is a weak leadership.

    March 14, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. Greg Morgan

    This proves the effectiveness of the hysterical Republican noise machine.

    March 14, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Bob Marshal

    I guess Romney was right in the debates. Maybe Obama should apologize.

    March 14, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    dave wrote:

    ... ... ... 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. ... ...
    -------------------------
    A collapse of the Russian economy is always a possibility, just as it is with ours. Considering how the Russian GDP has grown since they hit an all-time low of $200 billion in 1999 under Yeltsin, to a ten-fold growth to over $2 trillion in 15 years time under Putin, I would think that our economy is more likely to collapse before the Russian economy will.

    March 14, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. Tyke

    I thought Congress was the biggest threat to America.

    March 14, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. sandy

    Well that's what you get when you have a community organizer from Chicago as President. It's sad how far down Obama has brought this country.

    March 14, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. Barry Needler

    Yup. Totally illegal by international law....just like our invasion of Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, and strikes against Libya, Pakistan and others. Where were the sanctions against us for promoting or starting these wars....some of which were outright lies and deceptions resulting in the deaths of many thousands of innocent civilians? And we won't recognize a Crimea vote by its citizens but we'll recognize the violent overthrow of the Ukraine government. Listening to Kerry and Obama on this subject is an insult to ones intelligence.

    March 14, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. guest

    They didn't poll me. I do not see "Russia" as a threat. I see MSM as a threat. I have known many Russians over the years, they are just as normal as anyone else. The US needs to let the Ukraine fix its own problems!

    March 14, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Anonymous

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

    Love of country and love of Obama are mutually exclusive. He has done far too much to damage this country during his term in office. If the Senate is taken by the Republicans in November and Obama continues to act as a dictator, refusing to enforce laws and changng laws at will, I would fully support his impeachment.

    March 14, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. Ted Ward

    With Obama as an indecisive and ineffective president unable and unwilling to confront the gritty realities of the world the US and it's allies are in very big danger. Obama is sitting on the most powerful and capable military in the world and isn't doing ANYTHING. Obviously, Hillary and Barry's total lack of geopolitical strategy and or even the awareness of a need for such a strategy is now bearing its bitter fruit. Tens of millions of europeans if not hundreds of millions of europeans are now truly threatened in a way they have not been for decades. Putin wants to turn back the clock and refight the Cold War, this time on his terms, and win. Will someone in the White House please grow a pair and send some planes, ships, and troops where it means something. Sorry, but that's what's required. Putin's and boots on the ground kind of guy. He needs a bloody nose, not a polite academic lecture.

    March 14, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Will

    Most people are ldiots.

    March 14, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Steve

    I am supposed to be worried about Russia and yet thousands get shot and killed in the USA each year? Getting shot here is a bigger concern thanks.

    March 14, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. brown

    The U.S. electorate should be asking what their elected representatives are doing around the world in their name.

    March 14, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Billy Shears

    "Most Americans?" Romney said it during the last election and was mocked by the media for doing so.
    ------------------------–
    That's not quite what Romney said. Romney had said that Russia was the number one NUCLEAR threat in the world. Pres. Obama disagreed with him, and identified Iran and N. Korea as the top NUCLEAR threats in the world. Romney was properly criticized for ignoring the threats from Iran and N. Korea. How could he be so careless as to ignore them? The rising nuclear threat of both countries has been a long, drawn out talking point against the President's foreign policy record.

    March 14, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. Jodo

    How can this be? obama mocked Mitt Romney, telling him that the cold war was over and this is not the 1980's.

    And if bayrak done said da cold war is over, den it's over

    March 14, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. bil

    Russia was and is no friend of the U.S. They are good at playing chess and they are using that to their advantage in dealing with us. So far we have been blowing hot air in response and so does Europe, if that is the best we can do then we should just keep our mouth shut and stop giving false hope to Ukraine.

    March 14, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. If you believe THAT...........

    Romney and Palin forecast EXACTLY what's happening in the Ukraine some years ago but would Obama listen? No. Not only did he not listen – he refused to install US missile shields in Poland and Europe BUT he's cut the US military to pre WW2 numbers.
    ,Makes you wonder who's side he's on!

    March 14, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. Rick

    That poll only proves over half of the people are dumb. We already knew that.

    March 14, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. Rudy

    Should have nuked them in the 1980's

    March 14, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. SnowBrdr

    ...and who is the puppet master, it's not any politician...

    March 14, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. a99percenter

    Putin is a thug. Why some people are just now realizing he might be a problem amazes me since anyone who disagrees with him seems to come to an untimely death. I'm referring to the 2 Russian expatriots who were murdered in England while he was in office.

    March 14, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. just asking

    just because a country invades several of its neighbors and claims part of the country as theirs doesn't mean they are bad and a threat. i'm sure we would not mind one bit if mexico and/or canada invaded the usa and took several states and made them part of their country. (liberal take on russia)

    wait a minute, mexicon maybe be doing that but without an army! why send an armed force when you can send an unarmed force that is granted amnesty?

    March 14, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. waserball

    Will China side with Russia?

    March 14, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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