May 5th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
3 months ago

Poll: Growing concern over Ukraine but little support for military action

(CNN) - Americans are increasingly concerned about the ongoing situation in Ukraine, but few express support for using U.S. military force in that county, according to a new national survey released Monday.

A CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that even if economic and diplomatic efforts fail in curbing Russia's aggression in the region, Americans still oppose U.S. military involvement.

Read the full CNN/ORC International poll results

One quarter of those surveyed view Russia as an enemy of the United States, but only 18% see Ukraine as an ally.

Thirty-six percent said they are very concerned about the situation in Ukraine – up six-percentage points since CNN last asked that question in early March. Those who said they were not concerned about the crisis dropped five points, to 22%.

Obama losing trust as commander in chief

Opinion is split on how President Barack Obama is handling the conflict in Ukraine, with 48% approving his approach and 44% disapproving.

But 52% of respondents say they do not trust Obama as commander in chief. That's a 14-point jump from when the same question was asked in 2011.

How should President Barack Obama react?

Only six percent say the United States should use military action immediately against Russia. Sixty-five percent support economic and diplomatic actions, while 28% said Americans should take no action.

But if the economic sanctions and efforts for a diplomatic solution doesn't work, should the United States use military force at that point?

Thirty-eight percent, including the 6% pushing for military action now, say yes, while nearly six in ten say the United States should still withhold military action.

And when asked about global policy, rather than a specific question on Ukraine, 84% said the United States should use military force only as a last resort.

Enemies and allies

Americans have a negative view of Russia, but that country is seen as much less of a threat than several others tested in the poll.

Over half of respondents say North Korea is an enemy of the United States, followed by Iran (47%), Afghanistan (34%) and Syria (30%). Just 25% of Americans say that Russia is an enemy.

Americans list Great Britain as the greatest ally to the United States. It stands at 65% in the survey compared to France at 46%, Germany at 44% and Poland at 31%. Only 18% of respondents say that Ukraine is an American ally, which most describing that country as friendly to the U.S. but not an ally.

As for Russia, over two-thirds of those surveyed said the former Soviet Union is unfriendly to the United States – a significant jump from 2011 when that number stood at 37% and in 2003 when only 30% of Americans viewed Russia as unfriendly

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from May 2-4, with 1,008 adult questioned by telephone. The overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • President Obama • Russia • Ukraine
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. DRAKE MALLARD

    "“we have a national debt that’s out of control, they send us to wars we shouldn’t be fighting in."

    May 5, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. Bill from GA

    Maybe we kinda opened this can of worms when we supported the overthrow of the government Ukraine had. Couldn't wait for elections.

    And, NO Ukraine, you can't keep the government you had if you liked it. The USA won't allow it.

    May 5, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Jig

    Put me down as against please.

    May 5, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. Lizzie

    The USA will NOT get involved in UKRAINE, Pres.Obama talks and no one is listening.

    May 5, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. don in albuquerque

    We have no business being there. But then we had no business being in Viet Nam, Iraq I, or Iraq II.

    May 5, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  6. odoba

    It's a no brainer. He does not want blacks at his games that majority of the players are black. Do the maths. The guy does not have any players to play the game he does not want blacks in attendance. The final answer: He does not have a team. This guy is a jerk period! After his remarks, maybe his wife and children will form his team. Let's play ball now!

    May 5, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. alan s.

    In this world of hi-tech, I think they should charge "Pay for View" to see violant war zone action, sell tickets to be in on the action. Why not, turn the latest international situation into a Reality Show with sponsers like the Rand Corporation. Or better yet, just pull the plug and nobody will watch these idiots, thus...world peace. Amen

    May 5, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. Gurgyl

    We need the same kind of Foreign policy–no new war, no new loot, no new HALIBURTON.

    May 5, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. Chris-E...al

    Its hard to beat 1000's of nuke warheads ! Its really hard with a female cat in the W.H. with his toes curled up .

    May 5, 2014 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |