Poll: Most Americans oppose using force against Russia
April 15th, 2014
03:46 PM ET
4 months ago

Poll: Most Americans oppose using force against Russia

(CNN) - A majority of Americans say Ukraine is important to U.S. national interests, but when it comes to the crisis in the eastern European country, only a small sliver of the public says Washington should consider military actions against Russia, according to a new national poll.

And the McClatchy/Marist survey also indicates that Americans are divided on how President Barack Obama's handled the situation in Ukraine.

The poll's Tuesday release come as tensions have soared in recent days in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have seized government and police buildings in as many as 10 towns and cities. Russia declared its neighbor was on the brink of a civil war.

Last month, Russia annexed Crimea, which was an autonomous region of Ukraine with a large pro-Russian population. Moscow's move came after Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine.

U.S. supports Ukraine's military moves, for now

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 Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest political and business allies, and Russia responded with its own list of sanctions against a number of U.S. lawmakers and officials. Russia was also excluded from what was the G8 group of leading industrialized countries.

According to the poll, 55% of Americans say they consider Ukraine to be in U.S. national interests, with 39% saying the country is either not very important or not important at all to the U.S. There is little partisan divide on this question.

But only 7% say military options against Russia should be considered, with 46% saying the best way to deal with the crisis is through economic or political means, and 43% saying the U.S. should not get involved at all. A CNN/ORC International poll conducted in early March also indicated that only a small percentage of Americans wanted the United States to get involved militarily in the crisis.

"There is a good deal of ambivalence about Ukraine as far as U.S. public opinion is concerned," said Lee Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "Americans think it's important to the national interest, and Russia may expand the conflict. But, there is little public consensus in the U.S. to take a tough stand."

Two-thirds of Americans say Russia will not stop with Crimea and will send troops into other parts of Ukraine. But the public's split on whether the crisis in Ukraine will lead to a new Cold War between Washington and Moscow. The survey suggests that Republicans are slightly more likely than Democrats to say that a new Cold War is looming.

As for the President, 45% say they approve of how Obama's handling the situation between Kiev and Moscow, with an equal 45% saying they disapprove of the job he's doing dealing with the crisis, and one in ten unsure. The President's numbers are improved from national polls conducted last month by Quinnipiac University and CBS News, which indicated a plurality disapproving of how he was handling the situation.

The McClatchy-Marist poll was conducted April 7-10, with 1,212, adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: Polls • Russia • Ukraine
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Marcus (from...?)

    Until that pipeline that is being built (google Nabucco pipeline) is finished, or they build that other one the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, Europe will still be very dependant of the Russian gas. And unless Putin goes nuts and really threatens the lives of everybody in Europe with the loss of gas in winetr and some military action... they'll stick to their contracts.
    Cause they have no other option but these two:
    – wait for the alternatives to be built.
    – wait for Putin to give them the excuse they need to send the contracts of export/import of Russian gas to ****.

    April 15, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. Tommy G

    Marcus (from...?)
    Tommy G – And after the White House follows your plan the Russian govt. closes all pipelines that grants the European countries the gas they need and the USA says 'so what?' as millions and millions of people loses their jobs before General Winter shows up.
    Are you really asking for a war with Russia?
    ---

    Oh well, that is the price you pay for laying down with the Russian Bear. Very bad move by Europeans that know who they are dealing with. Their national energy policies are their problem.

    And here's a NEWS FLASH for you, do you think if war breaks out those gas pipelines are going to survive intact? If I were a Ukrainian and Russia invaded, those gas lines would be the FIRST thing to go. It is Russia's only source of money.

    I am not asking for a war with Russia. I am asking for freedom for Ukrainians and their right to have their own country without fear of invasion from a belligerent neighbor.

    April 15, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    GOP/Teatrolls: "So what? That doesn't mean we can't try to rekindle some sort of cold war with the Russians. we desperately desperately need one too, because that mentality really helps divert federal funds to defense contractors and red states."

    April 15, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Pete

    @just saying,you don't think Bush,Cheney if still there in the WH would be frothing at the mouth wanting a new war to help full their war chests at home..Come on man if corruption,incompetency were money your republicans would have been zillionairs decades ago...

    April 15, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Silence DoGood

    @Marcus (from...?)
    Tommy G – And after the White House follows your plan the Russian govt. closes all pipelines that grants the European countries the gas they need and the USA says 'so what?' as millions and millions of people loses their jobs before General Winter shows up.
    Are you really asking for a war with Russia?
    -----------
    Tommy "Joe McCarthy" G is pretty big on making fun of progressives and diplomacy.
    Unfortunately, short of "blow some stuff and people up and see what happens", he is a little short on real solutions.
    After all the bluster and fanfare and fear and control issues, old Joe was eventually censured by Congress and ended up muttering in a corner somewhere. Real life is not like a war movie. After the GW war follies, we the people are not going to War right now, thanks.

    April 15, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Marcus (from...?)

    Tommy G – 'I am not asking for a war with Russia. I am asking for freedom for Ukrainians and their right to have their own country without fear of invasion from a belligerent neighbor.'

    The '500 caskets a week' had me fooled that you wanted a war...

    Just propose something minimally feasible, not knee-jerking reaction, and we can discuss it.

    PS: Of the pipelines, 13 last time I counted, that connects Russian gas with Europe, 5 goes through Ukraine, they cut those five there still be 8 to use to deliver their gas (And the Europeans countries that need them will ensure that nothing happens on those, or won't they?).

    April 15, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. imalib

    Sniffit
    That doesn't mean we can't try to rekindle some sort of cold war with the Russians.
    --

    Too late! Obama's Russian Reset policy already beat them to the punch!!

    April 15, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. Gurgyl

    Wars are supported by only GOP guys, because they need Halliburton type contracts, dick Cheney like idiots. Very pathetic. Next time any one says war–we will send Senator kids, Congress men wives, kids etc, then only poor and American middle class.

    April 15, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. don in albuquerque

    Tommy G

    So grab your little pop gun, and run right over there and give them their freedom. Your such a big brave person.....with other people's lives.

    April 15, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. Brian

    Without military force on the table, what credible methods does the US/NATO have to contain a belligerent Russia? So far, Russia finds our economic and diplomatic sanctions laughable. Europe stands to lose as much as Russia from refusing to interact economically, and Russia can shut off their gas. The west doesn't really have much non-military leverage to stop them. We can all pretend that the world is ready to hold hands and sing songs together, but that's not going to stop our potential adversaries from pursuing their own interests. What if Russia invades the rest of Ukraine? Will we do something then? How about Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania? If we don't defend our NATO allies, you can expect a wave of nuclear proliferation, and not just in Europe. The only thing worse than getting involved in an unnecessary war is to not get involved in a necessary one.

    April 15, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. imalib

    You can't POLL people on this stuff!! Half the country are complete DOLTS, a product of our failed union controlled liberal school systems. Half don't know the difference between a Ukrainian and an Iranian! This is why we elect brilliant community organizers to send people under attack MREs. Next week the toilet paper and cheese will arrive. Obama has this whole situation so under control. Move along now.

    April 15, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
1 2