March 26th, 2014
08:59 AM ET
7 months ago

Poll: Crisis in Ukraine beyond U.S. control

Washington (CNN) - Nearly six in ten Americans say they approve of the sanctions the United States and the West have placed on Russia, but they don't expect the sanctions to be effective, according to a new national survey.

And a CBS News poll also indicates more people disapprove than approve of how President Barack Obama has handled the crisis, and a majority of the public feels the situation in Ukraine is beyond America's control and that the U.S. doesn't have a responsibility to get involved.

According to the poll, 56% of the public, including a majority of Democrats, independents and Republicans, say they back the sanctions, with 32% saying they disapprove. But 58% say they don't think the sanctions will be very effective, or effective at all.

In what has become the biggest East-West confrontation since the Cold War, the U.S. and European Union imposed visa bans and asset freezes on some of Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest political and business allies. Russia responded with its own list of sanctions against a number of U.S. lawmakers and officials.

The G7 group of leading industrialized countries has condemned both the Crimean vote to secede and Russia's annexation of Crimea, which was an autonomous region of Ukraine with a large pro-Russian population. Moscow has now been excluded from what was the G8. Russia had joined the G7 group in 1998 to form the G8.

The President's performance

Thirty-eight percent of those questioned in the survey, which was released Tuesday, say they approve of how the President's handling the crisis, with 46% giving Obama a thumbs down and 16% unsure.

The President on Tuesday defended his response to Russia's military led annexation of the Crimean peninsula and noted that Moscow could face further sanctions should Russian forces invade other parts of Ukraine.

"Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors," Obama said, adding Moscow's actions are "not out of strength but out of weakness."

He argued the fate of Crimea is "not a done deal," even as he agreed Russia controls the situation on the ground.

Does U.S. have responsibility?

Nearly six in ten questioned in the poll say the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is beyond U.S. control, and just over six in ten say America doesn't have a responsibility to do something about the crisis. Nearly two-thirds say Washington should not provide military aid and equipment to the government in Kiev.

The survey, along with a recent CNN/ORC International poll, indicates a shift in perceptions about Russia. Forty-two percent of Americans consider Russia an ally or friendly country, down from 80% back in 2003, with 51% describing the country as unfriendly or an enemy, up from 12%.

Forty-three percent say that America's image in the world has degraded since Obama became president, with 32% saying the country's international image has improved, and one in five saying there's been no effect.

The CBS News poll was conducted March 20-23, with 1,097 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta contributed to this report


Filed under: President Obama • Russia • Ukraine • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. rs

    Realpolitik in action. This situation IS beyond the control of the United States and for very logical reasons, and it is time to acknowledge that, just as we did when Russia subsumed Georgia. If it weren't for the GOP trying to make another "crisis to blather on about, there would be little or nothing to be said about the Ukraine.

    March 26, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    SOURCE OF GOVERNMENT -"For The LORD is our JUDGE, The Lord is our LAWGIVER, The LORD is our KING,
    He will Save Us"(Isaiah 33: 22) – King – Executive – President
    Lawgiver – House & Senate- Legislature
    Judge – Judiciary – Supreme Court
    Is this Correct?? (smile)

    March 26, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  3. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    SOURCE OF GOVERNMENT -"For The LORD is our JUDGE, The Lord is our LAWGIVER, The LORD is our KING,
    He will Save Us"(Isaiah 33: 22) – King – Executive – President
    Lawgiver – House & Senate- Legislature
    Judge – Judiciary – Supreme Court
    Is this Correct?? (smile)

    March 26, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. Malory Archer

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    I swear I've never seen a loser get more press. We get it you wanted Romney to win but he didn't. Get over it. Poor Al Gore actually should have been the POTUS but he got treated like a pariah when he lost but not Romney.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Additionally, while Al Gore was being treated like a pariah, he had the good grace and manners to NOT trash the guy the USSC installed AFTER THEY STOLE the Presidency from him. In fact, in the 40 years I've been following politics, I don't recall the losing candidate spending the entire term of office trashing the person who bested them in their respective races. Why anyone would give the time of day to such sore losers – much less vote for them – is beyond me.

    March 26, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    I've reached my limit ... both with the media AND the tinfoil crowd.
    -------------------------------------------------
    As have I, indeed, as have many of us.
    But we can't just sit back and let them run amok on this site, spreading their lies, hate, and fear.
    Appearing to be more than they are in number and intellect.
    We just can't.So we keep coming back after saying that we won't because we'd be doing a disservice to anyone that reads this thread if we stayed quiet and uninvolved out of sheer exhaustion and embarrassment for them.

    March 26, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. Joi Gibson

    Am I having a reading comprehension problem? A majority approve of the sanctions and a majority believe the crisis is beyond our control, yet a majority disapprove of how the president has handled the crisis. That just does not make any sense to me. I agree with Dominican Mama for Obama, the right-wing soundbites are out in full force and hence we have reporters like Jonathan Karl asking the kind of questions he did while the President is on foreign soil. That is a question that should have been asked at a White House press briefing. Dan Senor was on Morning Joe yet again saying what should be done. He would have some credence if he had taken his own advice when Putin invaded Georgia. But since they did nothing, his criticisms ring hallow and smack of pure politics. One should not and cannot criticize others when nothing was done in response to the same scenario on your watch.

    Mr. President, rock steady!!!!!

    March 26, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Malory Archer:

    "In fact, in the 40 years I've been following politics, I don't recall the losing candidate spending the entire term of office trashing the person who bested them in their respective races. Why anyone would give the time of day to such sore losers – much less vote for them – is beyond me."

    The short answer: Two million plus folks attending Obama's first inauguration petrified the Grand Old Party supporters. Since that time they've done everything they can to belittle and demoralize in full pay back mode not only President Obama, but his supporters as well.

    I've never seen the likes of their paranoia it in my adult life either.

    Mitt Romney? Well, Mitt Romney simply "doesn't lose" ... he gets "even".

    March 26, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. smith

    @Malory-Gore would have been potus if it wasn't for Ralph Nader and Micheal Moore. If Nader would never had run, Gore would have taken Florida easily.

    March 26, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    rs

    Realpolitik in action. This situation IS beyond the control of the United States and for very logical reasons, and it is time to acknowledge that, just as we did when Russia subsumed Georgia. If it weren't for the GOP trying to make another "crisis to blather on about, there would be little or nothing to be said about the Ukraine.
    ----------------------------------
    Don't forget about John McCain. The Republican nominee was calling for a military response in and around Georgia.

    March 26, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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