Americans broadly support Ukraine, hold mixed views on US policy - Pew survey

Americans broadly side with measures meant to halt Russia’s assault, though disagree on the US government and President Joe Biden's response to the war.

People demostrate during an anti-war protest called ''Stand with Ukraine'', amid Russia's invasion, in central Brussels, Belgium March 6, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)
People demostrate during an anti-war protest called ''Stand with Ukraine'', amid Russia's invasion, in central Brussels, Belgium March 6, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)

A Pew Research poll found that while a vast majority of Americans express support for Ukraine amid the recent Russian invasion, opinions varied on how the Biden administration and the broader US government are handling the issues brought on by the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Domestic political issues aside, Americans broadly side with measures meant to halt Russia’s assault, such as the harsh sanctions that have sunk Russia’s currency and devastated the Russian economy and the reinforcement of US military presence in NATO-allied countries. Some 85% of respondents said they supported the sanctions, while 77% favored keeping large numbers of US forces in NATO countries. Furthermore, 79% felt that working closely with US allies, in general, has been the right approach.

More American respondents, however, did feel that the US was not doing enough to actively support Ukraine’s defense. Some 42% said America was not doing enough, while 32% felt US support was adequate. 19% said they were unsure, while just 7% of respondents said America is providing too much support.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was urged by the US to evacuate Kyiv as the invasion began but stayed behind to defend the capital, has criticized NATO for failing to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Consequently, views of President Joe Biden and his administration’s response were nearly split, with 47% of respondents saying they approved of the Biden administration’s actions to end the Russia-Ukraine war, and 39% saying they disapproved. Opinions on the president’s actions were almost diametrically opposed – 69% of Democrats and left-leaning respondents approve of the administration’s response, while 67% of Republicans and right-leaning respondents disapproved. Biden’s approval rating as a whole has risen slightly since January.

 US PRESIDENT Joe Biden delivers remarks on Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the East Room of the White House on Thursday.  (credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS) US PRESIDENT Joe Biden delivers remarks on Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the East Room of the White House on Thursday. (credit: LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS)

While left-wing and right-wing Americans generally agree on sanctions; US cooperation with NATO countries and US allies; and the threat Russia poses to US interests, Americans disagree across political lines and on another crucial issue – the question of Ukrainian refugees.

Some 69% of respondents overall agreed that the US should admit thousands of Ukrainian refugees into America, but only 57% of right-wing respondents agreed with the sentiment – compared to 80% of left-leaning respondents.

While Americans often differ on political lines, US-based respondents did not have drastically different responses across demographic lines. Education level played a role in responses, with a higher level of education associated with approval of the Biden administration’s response. Almost three times as many young people were more likely to respond “not sure” when asked about the Biden administration’s response (17% for ages 18-49) in comparison to respondents aged 65 and above (6%).