Poll: Americans say Putin not like Hitler
April 2nd, 2014
03:31 PM ET
9 months ago

Poll: Americans say Putin not like Hitler

(CNN) - The vast majority of Americans say Vladimir Putin's not honest or trustworthy, but according to a new national poll they don't compare the Russian president's actions in Ukraine with the land grabs in the years leading up to World War II by Germany's Adolf Hitler.

A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday indicates that only 24% of the public equates Putin's annexing last month of neighboring Ukraine's Crimea peninsula with Hitler's actions, with 51% saying that's too strong a comparison. Just over one in five admitted they don't know enough about pre-Second World War history to answer the question.


Early last month in at a fundraiser in Long Beach, California, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Putin's military intervention in Crimean to Hitler's European aggression ahead of World War II.

"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the 30s," Clinton said according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, which had a reporter in the room for the closed event.

A day later, after her comments sparked some controversy, Clinton told an audience in nearby Los Angeles that her comments from the previous day were an attempt for "people to have a little historic perspective."

"I'm not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before," said Clinton. "What I said yesterday is that the claims by President Putin and other Russians that they had to go into Crimea and maybe further into eastern Ukraine because they had to protect the Russian minorities ... is reminiscent of claims that were made back in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland, in Czechoslovakia and elsewhere throughout Europe."

In what has become the biggest East-West confrontation since the Cold War, the United States and European Union imposed visa bans and asset freezes on some of President Putin's closest political and business allies. Russia responded with its own list of sanctions against a number of U.S. lawmakers and officials. And the G7 group of leading industrialized countries 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 was also excluded from what was the G8.

According to the Quinnipiac poll, 80% of Americans say that Putin's not honest and trustworthy. And a third questioned say the Russian president's not mentally stable, with 48% saying he is mentally stable. But a majority (57%) says that Putin has strong leadership qualities.

The poll's release came on the same day that NATO's military chief warned that Russian troops could begin moving on Ukraine within 12 hours of being given an order.

Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO's supreme allied commander Europe, also told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that with 40,000 troops massed near the border, Russia has all the components necessary to move on Ukraine.

According to the survey, 80% of American voters are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" that the Ukraine crisis could lead to a larger regional conflict with U.S. military involvement.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted March 26-31, with 1,578 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

 


Filed under: Poll • Russia • Ukraine • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. just asking

    you cannot ask this type of question in a poll! it assumes the person answering knows anything about wwii or hitler or the lead up to the war. liberals stopped teaching real history in the schools long ago. now they learn about the history of hip hop dancing and the rap culture.

    ask people who know the history of wwii and you will get a 95-5% result.

    April 2, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. Ron L

    DUMB, DUMB, DUMB, question. What a waste of time and energy!!!

    April 2, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Rupert Murdoch must be so disappointed.

    April 2, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    All I know is this, if Republicans like McCain were runnning things we would be launching an invasion force into Crimea and eastern Ukraine. We would have already invaded Iraq and N. Korea. You can throw Georgia in for good measure, too. McCain had wanted to send in the Marines back in 2008.

    April 2, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. Namebiggest liar of 2013

    I trust putin more than hussein obama the biggest liar of 2013. I'd trust north korea, china even iran more than the mr aahhh i lost my birth certificate but magically found it 3 years into presidency. Ahhh i didnt draw a red line. Ahhh pssssss hey putin ill be more flexible after election. Ahhh were sorry muslim for the offensive utube video that caused benghazi. Ahh avg family will save $2500 a year. Ahhh dah you can keep your doctor. Ahhh i didnt direct the 5th plea tax scandal lois lerner. Ahhh im islamabama the smartest keyan muslim ever born ahhj my bad i mean hawaian. IMPEACH THIS PEICE OF GARBAGE

    April 2, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. sonny chapman

    Hitler DID use the same Modus Operanda for inserting his Military into neighboring regions. Allegedly to "Protect" ethnic Germans from alleged offenses against them. Hillary was right, even if Europe wants to turn the other way-again. In the Big Picture, Putin has "Lost" Ukraine to Europe forever; assuming Europe is smart enough to take Ukraine into the fold.

    April 2, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    This poll does not reflect the republicans who idolize Putin. The results have to be unfairly skewed against GOBaggers who see Putin as their hero.

    April 2, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    Anonymous

    Malory Archer
    Anonymous
    You appear to live in some fantasy world where employers absorb the costs of healthcare increases all on their own. There WAS a 19% increase from the year before. They agreed to waive it THIS year, but the starting point for the next sign up WILL be the higher amount. No sane person would expect their employer to be eating these costs all on their own.
    19% increase is not a small amount. Obamacare has done nothing to lower MY healthcare insurance. And now I am paying for many others on Medicaid. Obamacare is the biggest screw job ever for the working middle class.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Tell me what state you live in and I'll tell you WHY your premiums are increasing by so much and so quickly.
    -

    Massachusetts. Please tell me. I'm dying to hear this.

    Malory Archer.... you still owe me this explanation.

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

    LOL – fair, I I fully addressed this issue yesterday. My response to your snotty little comment can be found in the thread attached to the article entitled: By the Numbers: The Final Obamacare Push which was posted at 9:50 a.m. on Tuesday – you know, the same article that you referenced back to in order to copy and paste your little screed. I believe my response is on page 2 of the message thread.

    April 2, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. Tampa Tim

    Namebiggy – It is always good to hear from the brain dead Birthers. I am not sure what "peice" is, but if you add OS, you describe the Birthers.

    April 2, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Malory Archer

    Namebiggest liar of 2013

    I trust putin more than hussein obama the biggest liar of 2013. I'd trust north korea, china even iran more than the mr aahhh i lost my birth certificate but magically found it 3 years into presidency. Ahhh i didnt draw a red line. Ahhh pssssss hey putin ill be more flexible after election. Ahhh were sorry muslim for the offensive utube video that caused benghazi. Ahh avg family will save $2500 a year. Ahhh dah you can keep your doctor. Ahhh i didnt direct the 5th plea tax scandal lois lerner. Ahhh im islamabama the smartest keyan muslim ever born ahhj my bad i mean hawaian. IMPEACH THIS PEICE OF GARBAGE

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

    Yeah, that might take awhile as the docket is full of the guys from the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue's 8-year reign of error. War crime tribunals can take years, so you might as well make yourself comfortable as it'll be decades before we can get around to impeaching President Obama for ... ... ... what exactly?

    April 2, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. kurt

    I dont' think Putin is like Hitler. I dont' think he'll start concentration camps or anything.

    I do think his actions are very similar to what Hitler did prior to the full-scale escalation of WW2. Hitler took over Austria and the Sudetenland, with his explanation being that the people there were Germans and he was just reuniting them with Germany. That's what fascism is... an expansionist, authoritarian nationalism.

    Putin has taken over Crimea using the same justification... the people there are Russians and should be reunited with Russia. Putin has modeled Russia in a fascist manner too. He was recently elected as the head of the "All Russian People's Front"... a political movement who's name alone shows the nationalist bent it pushes.

    There's even a term for the ideology of Putin... Putinism. "a Russian nationalistic authoritarian form of government that pretends to be a free market democracy"

    He's probably smarter then Hitler and more practical... but he's using the same playbook.

    April 2, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. smith

    @Tampa Tim-Who are these GOP politicians that like Putin?

    April 2, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. i'malib

    Rudy NYC

    All I know is this, if Republicans like McCain were runnning things we would be launching an invasion force into Crimea and eastern Ukraine. We would have already invaded Iraq and N. Korea. You can throw Georgia in for good measure, too. McCain had wanted to send in the Marines back in 2008.
    ---------------------------------------------
    I agree! Republicans started WW1 WW2, Korea AND Vietnam as well. They are all war mongers!

    April 2, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Ric Darrell

    If any of those polled had read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, they would have 100% said that Putin was following the same paths and tactics of Adolf Hitler. Once again history repeats itself and mankind doesn't pay attention!

    April 2, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Actually, considering the fact that the Russians were allowed to use the Crimean coastline for a warm water naval port, and considering that thei only warm water port that the Russians actually fully controlled is on the coast of a very unstable Syria, invading Crimea to capture and control the naval port makes a lot of sense.

    Capturing Crimea's naval port makes the Syrian port far more expendable than what it was before, although I think the Russians will hardly give up the Syrian port. The Russians claim that the Syrian port only serves vessels operating in the Mediterranean Sea, which coincidently also serves all ships moving in and out of the Crimean port as they pass through the Mediterranean Sea on their way to out to the oceans.

    April 2, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    "According to the survey, 80% of American voters are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" that the Ukraine crisis could lead to a larger regional conflict with U.S. military involvement."

    Oh, hey. Are these the same sleeping under their bed folks who stated they believed there would be a terrorist attack at the Sochi Olympics?

    Gotta love our American pollsters. Always finding new and amusing ways to showcase American stupidity in all its doom-filled glory.

    April 2, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. Tampa Tim

    smith – on this post alone, Namebiggest, so far. I am sure you have read those previous Putin love posts from other right wingnuts over the last few weeks. Tell you what, I'll make a note from now on and keep you informed.

    April 2, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. smith

    Putin is not even close to Hitler, he`s not even close Saddam Hussein. The only people trying defend the comparison are Hil. Clinton fans because she made the somewhat of a comparison between the two.

    April 2, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    I wish the 57% of Americans that say Putin has strong leadership qualities would give up their citizenship and move to Russia.

    April 2, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. Tom

    "liberals stopped teaching real history in the schools long ago."

    How absurd. Conservatives have the money and power but supposedly only "liberals" decide the school cariculum?

    April 2, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. Ol' Yeller

    @Namebiggest liar of 2013

    "I trust putin more than hussein obama the biggest liar of 2013. I'd trust north korea, china even iran more ..."

    Feel free to renounce your citizenship and move one of these places then. Send me a postcard the first time you post such nonsensical, idiotic drivel about your new leader there and tell me how it feels to have your entrails eaten by rats in some rotting hole.
    The insanity from freedom loving freedom lovers is very amusing, since they have no clue what the word 'freedom' actually means.

    April 2, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. Tampa Tim

    I'matool – You don't have to stretch a factual post to absurd right wing stupidity.

    April 2, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. joe

    I trust Putin much more than I trust Obama!!!!!!

    April 2, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Tom

    Ric Darrell

    If any of those polled had read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, they would have 100% said that Putin was following the same paths and tactics of Adolf Hitler. Once again history repeats itself and mankind doesn't pay attention!

    I have read it and saw the TV version which William Shirer appeared in himself. I do not draw the same conclusion as you.

    April 2, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. Tampa Tim

    smith – Add kurt to the list.

    April 2, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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