CBS News poll on the war in Ukraine: What should the U.S. do now?

▶ Watch Video: How the U.S. is helping Ukrainian defenses

There’s strong support for sending Ukraine more weapons to help in their fight, and increased sanctions against Russia find favor, too, as Americans watch continued horrors of the war unfold. 

And while few back direct U.S. military action in Ukraine right now, Americans do have a “red line” that could change that: Russian use of chemical or nuclear weapons or an attack into NATO territory would spur a big majority backing for U.S. military action in response. 

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Support for sanctions on Russia not only remains strong but of those backing them, big majorities favor increasing them now.

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Most Americans say Ukraine does matter to U.S. national interests, for reasons including stopping Russian aggression, protecting the lives of the Ukrainian people and as a reflection on the U.S. role in the world.

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Is Biden doing enough?

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President Biden continues to get mixed reviews for his handling of the situation, in part because people are mixed on how much more — or less — they want him to do from here. 

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Here’s a look at three groups:

The “Biden should take more of a leadership role” group

Some 41% want Mr. Biden to take an even greater leadership role among world leaders trying to solve the conflict, and they profile as people who want more action overall: 

They’re even more supportive of sending Ukrainians weapons than Americans overall; and even relatively more supportive of sending U.S. troops. They comprise a mix of Republicans and Democrats and are especially likely to see this conflict, which they think matters to U.S. interests, as a reflection of America’s leadership in the world.  

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The “Biden’s approach is about right” group

There are a third who call Mr. Biden’s approach about right in terms of leadership, and they profile as seeking nonmilitary resolutions, much in line with recent steps. 

They’re very supportive of sanctions, overwhelmingly saying the events in Ukraine matter as we try to stop Russian aggression, but are, like most Americans, leery about involving U.S. troops. This group is also composed of more Democrats.

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The “Biden should take less of a leadership role” group

This is a smaller group, 25%, who want Mr. Biden to take less of a leadership role, and they profile as wanting to be less involved overall.

Along with that sentiment toward Mr. Biden, they’re much less likely than others to support supplying weapons, or to having U.S. troops bolster NATO. This smaller group contains more Republicans than Democrats. They’re also far less likely to think Ukraine matters a lot to U.S. national interests in the first place.  

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This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,062 U.S. adult residents interviewed between April  5-8, 2022. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as to 2020 presidential vote. The margin of error is ± 2.8 points.

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