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. sportsmedicine

    Romney was right, Obama, his Democrat cohorts, and their enabling liberal press were ALL WRONG

    March 14, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. Charlie

    I guess MIt Romney was right and remember how they laughed at his for saying Russia was our biggest threat. But Kerry gave them an ultimatum so lets see what the US Pres is made of now.

    March 14, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. This article is disgusting...

    "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."

    I was never asked and I know nobody else who was. There's no way they polled all Americans to make this ridiculous report. They asked a small percentage then threw the averages into a hat and said "yep this is America's opinion alright" and ran with it. These kinds of polls are a farce. It's true that plenty of Americans don't like Putin, but it's also true that plenty of us don't want a war with Russia's people as plenty of us see them as friends and equal human beings. Just because they polled a handful of people here and then stretched the numbers to meet their agenda does not mean this is how the entire US populace feels. Not even close. I'm personally ashamed of some people in our country when media blanket trash like this is published.

    March 14, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. Brady

    Our President is clueless, he could be outfoxed and manipulated by a fifth grader….

    March 14, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. credibility deficit

    USA? That's that country that used to be tight with Assad right? Remember when Bush used to kidnap foreign nationals, such as Canadians while they were on vacation and whisk them away to torture prisons in Syria?

    Canadians remember that. Our government even had to settle for 10,000,000 with a recent torture victim named Arar.

    Just to clarify, the USA is that country that committed the heinous war crimes, murdering several hundred thousand Iraqis right?

    Poll results are in: Must people don't care what the USA thinks anymore!

    March 14, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Anybody question why refugees never ask for asylum in Russia ?

    Unless your Edward Snowden.

    March 14, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Rosslaw

    Great John Stewart analysis about how Russia is the new conservative version of heaven.

    March 14, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. J Russ

    irunner -- I don't believe that the Tea Party has a favorable view of Putin, but they do have a favorable view of bringing our men and women back home and allowing the rest of the world to defend themselves. They're all for NGO assistance anywhere people need help but it's time to tell the governments of this world that they need to grow up and fend for themselves and not to depend on Uncle Sammy to wipe them when they squat.

    March 14, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Wake up People!

    Apparently they didn't poll the unpatriotic posters that post here about Putin's favorability. One things for certain and two things for sure, those in Russia would never publicly demean him. And they would never praise any American over him. Russia respects their leader, even if he's dead wrong.

    March 14, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. quidestveritas

    so, now the revisionists on the left say that Russia never really was a threat even during the cold war and it was simply trumped up nonsense from the right. or perhaps it's not really revisionist if you never knew anything about history in the first place?

    March 14, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. BUD

    Well! It gives the fear mongers a reason to push for more military spending we don't need to the delight of the military complex.
    When will we learn?
    What would palin and Rom do if they were president?

    March 14, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. ogona

    “A few months ago when you (Mitt Romney) were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia…the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” Barack Obama 2012

    March 14, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. Jan Nappylotto

    Obama is a greater threat to America.
    – CBO reports that Obamacare kills jobs
    – CBO reports raising the minimum wage kills jobs, yet Obama is pushing for it
    – Obama announced he would bypass Congress at his leisure
    – NSA and CIA spying on American citizens
    – Obama violating the law by protecting illegal immigrants and offering them Obamacare

    March 14, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. RealNews

    Well, we only have the media along with CNN to thank for that. How specifically is Russia a threat to the US when they are dealing with Ukraine and Crimea halfway around the world is beyond me.

    March 14, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. Chukch

    The Russians did not have the capability I in their last war with Afghanistan, and military strength is not an affordable act for a long protracted war. It may be the necessary thing to do is get them involved in conflict to determine their real strength.

    March 14, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. Lena1654

    Russia is not a threat to US. This poll is BS and a propaganda against Russia. In no way I agree with what's going on in Russia right now, in fact I oppose to pretty much everything that Putin is doing...but to say that Russia is threat to America is over the top.

    March 14, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. Loretta

    In response to 'this article is disgusting' you clearly have no idea how polling is done. And the poll did not include whether Americans wanted to go to war, but rather, whether they believe Russia is the greatest threat. In addition, you must be one of those nuts who don't believe the majority of Americans are pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-gun control. Therefore, your opinion happens to be in the MINORITY. Which is just fine. But remember who you are.

    March 14, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Byron

    Russia is not a threat to us and we are not a threat to them. We would never go to war with Russia, and Russia will never want to go to war with us. We have the bigger military, the bigger economy and more resources. We need to stop being paranoid and thinking that everyone who disagrees with us is a threat.

    March 14, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Kelly

    At least Americans know it's Russia now, not the Soviet Union. Considering half this nation lives 30 years in the past it's important to get these things right.

    March 14, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. Jay

    Putin believes that while Americans are Individualistic Russians are a Collective culture. The truth is if you go to Russia you'll quickly notice how everyone there is out for themselves. No one in Russia likes to see their neighbor get something for nothing. To be polite in Russia is a sign of weakness. It's interesting how Putin's idea of collectiveness is the polar opposite of the definition.

    March 14, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. Valkyrie

    "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."

    And 9 out of 10 of those polled had IQ's of 50.

    March 14, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    TONE

    The biggest threat to America are stupid voters.
    ------–
    When you look at the fact that the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave was elected twice, I can't help but agree.

    March 14, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. Brian

    So if the US stages military exercises near a hot spot like Korea or the diaoyu islands, that is just an innocent exercise not intended to provoke anyone, but if Russia does the same then it is an aggressive act. Our continued hypocrisy astounds me.

    March 14, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. Paul

    Just shows how easily simple minds can be whipped into hysterics over nothing by the media.

    March 14, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. koreel

    The US media has been demonizing Putin heavily since he gave Snowden asylum and recently during the Olympics, scaring everybody away from even attending. So this poll is nothing more than a check to see if all the demonizing worked. After all, most Americans are patriotic and never question their govt or the news.

    March 14, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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