Poll: Americans say Putin not like Hitler
April 2nd, 2014
03:31 PM ET
6 years 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. smith

    @Really-Ok, who are these Republicans saying they like Putin?

    April 2, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    March 2014 – First month since 2002 with no US combat fatalities. Now THAT is a successful foreign policy. THANK YOU, OBAMA. And yes, that's your cue to start throwing tantrums, GOPers/Teatrolls...let 'em fly....

    April 2, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. star69

    if anyone seemed to be following Hitler's path,it would be the moves the USA had made over the last few years,with the fake 'reichstag' (aka 9-11)and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and the war built on lies and propaganda in Iraq (as Germany lied to justify invading Poland and the Rhineland) as the USA consolidated its hold on Middle East oil. The USA is just better at its propaganda than Nazi Germany 😉

    April 2, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. idiotusmaximus

    Americans say Putin not like Hitler.............

    Only fearful conservatives would think he is....they are always pointing to the worst in anything...it's just what they do.

    April 2, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Kelly

    I'm not a fan of Putin, but Clinton's comparison was vile and insensitive to the millions of Russian families–including Putin's–who lost family members to the Nazis. This woman just lost a lot of respect from me and she needs all the democratic votes she can get.

    April 2, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. BULL

    If CNN bothered to look around on the internet and actually reported on what we have been saying, it would have also been reported that most of us that know history, and pay close attention to what is going on, we say that OBAMA is more like Hitler, and has been trying to usher in Fascism in the United States.

    Indeed, many other people that lived under hitler, and communist Russia, have said it's happening here in the United States, just as it did in other countries. I would provide many links to sources, but CNN would just censor me.

    Do not be fooled by Obama. HE is the problem, not Putin.

    April 2, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |

    The GOP should BOUNCE rinse my armpit and MAKE PUTIn and palin the co chaired of the RNC, I think he likes the teahage.

    April 2, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. just saying

    At least most Americans are smarter than Kerry and Clinton.

    April 2, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. Ann Gill

    War, war, and more war. Democrats or Republicans, they like war to make the Rich, richer and the poor live without. Don't be fooled that Democrats don't want war, they just don't want you to think they do. Both parties are mostly the same.

    April 2, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Larry

    It would appear that only 24% of Americans possess the intelligence to see what's happening. The rest will eventually understand but it will be too late by then to do anything. Ask 6 million dead Jews.

    April 2, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Gobelpoo

    "'Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the 30s,' Clinton said". Now I'm confused. Was Hillary referring to George W. Bush preceding the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, or Vladimir Putin?

    April 2, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. Rick

    Of course he's no Hitler, he's more like a Stalin, Stalin killed far far more people than Hilter did. Why is everyone trying to equate a Russian to a German ??

    April 2, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Dave thewave

    Putin may not be a nazi, but he is a Soviet era Stalin which is just as bad.

    April 2, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. Al Mahany

    Not like Hitler? Who are we kidding. All he needs are the short mustache and the swastika on his arm. Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them. And here we are repeating them. We know how to beat Russia without starting WWIII. Reagan did it successfully in Afghanistan by arming the mujadaheen. It worked once, and it will work again.

    April 2, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Sarcastro

    Putin is the type of hero we need as a leader.

    He's willing to stand up against the gay agenda and defend his border. (The 2 single most important issues of our generation here in the US).

    I'd gladly take Putin's leadership style over Obozo's big-government nanny state.

    April 2, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. ES

    One of the things that charaterized Nazi'ss propaganda was that they believed themselves to be chosen people, better than everyone else. Which country today feels that they are exceptional, chosen and better than everyone else?
    It is not Russia. Putin never claimed Russians to be better than everyone else, destined to rule the world.

    April 2, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. Richard

    No, Putin is no Hitler. He's a Jr. Stalin which is worse. Communist regimes killed over 100 MILLION in the last 100 years. Compare that to any Fascist record.

    April 2, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. otlset

    "Yeah I said it. It was a hasty, off-the-cuff remark, made during one of my frequent dizzy episodes the doctors seem so worried about. But really what difference, at this point, does it make? Those men are dead, and nothing we can do will bring them back! Oh wait, wrong topic. Yes, Putin is like Hitler in many ways, except of course in those areas where he isn't. That's all for now, these questions just make me soo tarrrd..."

    - The least productive Sec of State in modern times

    April 2, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. ES

    One of the things that charaterized Hitelr's propaganda was that the claimed that Germans (arians) are chosen people, better than everyone else. Which country today feels that they are exceptional, chosen and better than everyone else?
    It is not Russia. Putin never claimed Russians to be better than everyone else, destined to rule the world.

    April 2, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Joey Mayo

    The Gallop poll statistics is not shocking. 24% of Americans believe Putin's actions ring similar to Hitler's.... formally educated Americans number less than 24%, but it does not take a degree to educate one's self, so 24% having a basic understanding of the threat that is being posed in Ukraine, sounds about right. Unfortunately, in this Republic, many Americans are ignorant when it comes to History, and the Present for that matter. If more Americans realized where appeasement took us prior to WWII, Americans would be demanding 'boots on the ground,' in dealing with the Red Menaces' bully tactics. Strategically, there are Energy resources in the Eastern half of Ukraine that the Petrol State of Russia is surely eyeing, in addition to a land bridge into their Naval Base in Souther Crimea. We have nothing to be concerned with though! Putin just told Obama last week, that he ISN'T invading the Eastern half of Ukraine. Hitler also told Britain at the Munich Conference, that Czechoslovakia would be Germany's last request........we all (SHOULD) know how that turned out. Let's hope History does not repeat itself, both politically (appeasement) and with a World War. Time will surely tell as it always does.

    April 2, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Ed

    Putin is not like Hitler, but OBAMA is and WORSE...heck, he's The Antichrist! you'll see soon , those who don't know yet...very soon...Repent and wait on Christ coming shortly also...

    April 2, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. Tampa Tim

    smith – Add joe to the Putin lover list.

    April 2, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. Tampa Tim

    smith – BULL goes on the list too.

    April 2, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. M'lynn

    Only folks who think Putin isn't a dictator bent in Euro-domination are the thug idiots who like him so much they should be stripped of citizenship and sent to Moscow, blind and stupid!

    April 2, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. John

    Obama secretly loves and admires Putin. It is why he has been trying to cozy up to him for years now. Obama refuses to tell us all who he truly is but his actions towards Russia sure do tell us. He's a commie cut from the same cloth as Putin. They both want to control over as many peoples lives as possible. Putin uses troops and lies, Obama and the Democrats use Obamacare and lies. As they say, if the shoe fits wear it.

    April 2, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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