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What’s the Point? Americans Back Strong Action Against Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

What’s the Point? Americans Back Strong Action Against Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

National security concerns among Americans have risen dramatically since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Voters back President Joe Biden’s efforts to impose economic sanctions and send military aid to Ukraine.

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Firefighters extinguish a house fire after shelling in Mariupol on March 12, 2022, seventeen days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Getty/Aris Messinis/AFP)

Following Russia’s malicious assault on Ukraine, American voters’ views on national security and foreign policy seemingly changed overnight, becoming one of the most important issues facing the country.

According to a Navigator Research survey conducted from March 3, 2022, through March 7, 2022, 51 percent of voters rated “national security and foreign policy, including Ukraine” as one of the top four most important issues for President Joe Biden and Congress to focus on; only 27 percent of voters said so in early February, prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war in Ukraine is now second only to jobs and the economy as a top concern for Americans.

Almost 60 percent of voters give President Biden good marks for making the “right decisions” on the war in Ukraine, including 81 percent of Democrats, 54 percent of independents, and 36 percent of Republicans. “The violation of human rights and the death of innocent civilians in Ukraine” tops the list of what worries voters most about the current situation, with 63 percent saying they are “very worried” about this development and 29 percent who are “somewhat worried.” Voters are also concerned about the war’s repercussions at home, with 63 percent saying they are “very worried” about “increased gas prices as a result of sanctions on Russia” and 53 percent saying they are “very worried” about “increased inflation as the world’s economy is disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

An overwhelming majority of American voters—83 percent—support the United States and its allies imposing economic sanctions on Russia. (see Figure 1) Nearly 7 in 10 voters are also in favor of the United States sending Ukraine military aid, “including arms and air support,” to help defend against Russia’s attacks.

Figure 1

Overall, Americans recognize that the United States must take strong action to help Ukraine defend itself and protect democracy more broadly. Approximately 9 in 10 American voters agree with a series of statements about the United States and its allies confronting Russian aggression, including: “It is critical that America and its allies stand up to Russia in favor of protecting democracy abroad in countries like Ukraine.”

What’s the point on Russian aggression? When it comes to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s willful attack on Ukraine, Americans stand united in their desire for a firm response from the United States and its allies in defense of democracy and territorial sovereignty. If Putin believed he could divide Americans on this front, the numbers reveal that he was sorely mistaken.

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John Halpin

Former Senior Fellow; Co-Director, Politics and Elections

Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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