Poll: Most Americans oppose using force against Russia
April 15th, 2014
03:46 PM ET
5 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. just saying

    the american people don't want or trust this incompetent president to do anything. they are sure it will end in a disaster.

    but i'm sure obama has no plans to act anyways as that would entail real work. it is just not doable given his extensive golf outing, vacation, campaign fund raising and celebrity event schedule.

    April 15, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. smith

    Its good to see only a few people want world war three.

    April 15, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Silence DoGood

    " The survey suggests that Republicans are slightly more likely than Democrats to say that a new Cold War is looming."
    ----------
    Wishful thinking. With a Cold War on, conservatives can scare us evil Godless communists, just like the good old days. Time to enter the modern world folks. Stick with secret conspiracy fake birth certificates in Benghazi.

    April 15, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    I say impose tighter sanctions and cripple their economy for the next decade.

    April 15, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. rs

    Just another issue the Right is wrong on.... just sayin'.

    April 15, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. Tommy G

    Might I suggest to the clueless wonders in the White House sending the Ukrainians a few thousand high powered sniper rifles, 20,000 RPGs and enough stinger missiles to take down the entire Russian air force? Afghanistan taught those that were paying attention, the Russians only understand ONE THING. Body bags. 500 a week would be the goal.

    And you know, there might be a few Chechens out there that would be more than willing to help take down a few of these Russian mobster/army clowns.

    April 15, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. O'drama ya Mama

    What will John McCain do now?!?!?!?

    April 15, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Pander Bear

    I'm in favor of sending troops as long as "just saying" is drafted into front line infantry.

    April 15, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. sonny chapman

    Of the 45% who Disapprove of Obama's handling of the Ukraine, 99% would also Disapprove how Obama kisses his Daughters' Good Night.

    April 15, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Silence DoGood

    Bush 2008 Russia Georgia take over "forgive Russia" (Rice) – send money to Georgia – hope for the best.
    Wow – that was sooooo different back then.

    April 15, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Tampa Tim

    Since the Wisconsin Republican Party has adopted a resolution to secede from the United States, we need to put our troops on the Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota borders with WI.

    April 15, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. just saying nothing

    @Pander Bear–I agree it is time for just saying to put up or shut up

    April 15, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. Tampa Tim

    Oops, Wisconsin republicans are going to vote on a resolution to secede from the United States. If it means the end of welfare abuser Lyin' Ryan, it might just be worth it.

    April 15, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Silence DoGood

    @Tommy G
    Might I suggest to the clueless wonders in the White House sending the Ukrainians a few thousand high powered sniper rifles, 20,000 RPGs and enough stinger missiles to take down the entire Russian air force? Afghanistan taught those that were paying attention, the Russians only understand ONE THING. Body bags. 500 a week would be the goal.

    And you know, there might be a few Chechens out there that would be more than willing to help take down a few of these Russian mobster/army clowns.
    ----------–
    .....and the left over weapons were used on US soldiers later. Brilliant. That is the difference between reality and the conservative cartoon world. In the real world there are consequences.

    April 15, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Tampa Tim

    A war with Russia has General McCain, 2nd Lieutenant Lindsay Graham, and KP leader Justa, chomping at the bit to do some more of that war stuff.

    April 15, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Chris-E...al

    Im with most americans i to do not wish for the sun and the moon to be darken for a long while with nuclear fallout and winter !

    April 15, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House: "I say impose tighter sanctions and cripple their economy for the next decade."

    The Cold War was a war of economic attrition: Our broad-based, diverse economy could weather a massive military build-up (Reagan's voodoo economics), whereas the Soviet Union's could not. Another economic war of attrition is the best route to take, not using Reagan's methods, but by bringing the world together in imposing sanctions that will have immediate and profound effect.

    April 15, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @just say ...ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz: The majority of Americans don't want to go to war because we're still paying for the two GW waged off the books.

    April 15, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. ????

    @Tommy G
    "And you know, there might be a few Chechens out there that would be more than willing to help take down a few of these Russian mobster/army clowns."
    -----
    Be careful what you wish for. I will take Russians any day if Chechens are the only other choice.
    Personally, I don't think Putin is dumb enough to get in the middle of a civil war in Ukraine. If he wants to be an "occupier" then he might pay a very heavy price.

    April 15, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Thomas

    @ust saying
    the american people don't want or trust this incompetent president to do anything. they are sure it will end in a disaster.

    but i'm sure obama has no plans to act anyways as that would entail real work. it is just not doable given his extensive golf outing, vacation, campaign fund raising and celebrity event schedule.

    =========

    I agree with just saying and Donna , they have WMD's , we need GW Bush back in DC to talk tough and use a big chainsaw with the KGB Zombies .

    April 15, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. g

    republicans -chasing war can wear you out

    April 15, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Tony D

    Silence DoGood
    .....and the left over weapons were used on US soldiers later. Brilliant. That is the difference between reality and the conservative cartoon world. In the real world there are consequences.
    --

    Yeah, right.... because there aren't already 20,000 other ways to get arms across the world. Psst... your cluelessness is showing. I guess it is best for those 48 million Ukrainians to lay down and accept their future as Russian serfs. Why are the leftists answer to everything government slavery?

    April 15, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. JCDavis

    A majority of Americans say Ukraine is important to U.S. national interests...

    And yet they don't know where it is or anything about it. If they think it's important, then it's because CNN and others have been propagandizing it like mad, portraying the CIA's version of the story as correct.

    April 15, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. 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?

    April 15, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. smr413

    "Just saying" must have been asleep for the entire George W. Bush presidency when he golfed and biked and cut wood and sometimes showed up to the job to screw up. Obama's still digging us out from the ditch that cowboy drove us into.

    April 15, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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