Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Less than half Americans agree on weapons supply to Ukraine

Nearly one year on from the launch of Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, many Americans oppose their government’s policy of providing massive military and economic assistance to Kiev, a new poll revealed on Wednesday.

Less than half of US adults still agree with sending weapons to Ukraine, while only around one in four believes Washington should continue to play a “major role” in the conflict, the Associated Press-NORC poll showed. 

The survey, conducted in late January, found that 48% of Americans support continued military aid to Ukraine, down from 60% back in May, while 29% are opposed and 22% are unsure. 

Likewise, just 26% of poll respondents say the US should have a “major role” in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, down from 32% in May. 

Most of that support comes from Democrats. 

Just 17% of Republicans want Washington to play a big part in the conflict, compared with 40% of Democrats.

A handful of GOP lawmakers, including Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida and Thomas Massie of West Virginia, have called for halting US aid to Kiev, arguing that President Joe Biden’s policy has heightened the risk of war with Russia, depleted America’s weapons stockpiles and caused more bloodshed by prolonging the conflict. Biden himself warned last March that giving Ukraine offensive weapons, such as tanks and planes, would lead to World War III. He then proceeded to champion a US aid program that has grown to $100 billion in approvals.

Americans also are increasingly reluctant to support continued economic aid to Ukraine, with just 37% approving and 38% opposing, the AP-NORC poll showed. US adults favored such aid by a 44-32 margin as of last May.

Support for anti-Russia sanctions has dropped to 63% from 71% over the same period. The poll found that 59% of Americans believe limiting damage to the US economy should be a bigger priority, compared with 36% who say sanctioning Russia as effectively as possible is more important. When an AP-NORC poll asked the same question in March, respondents prioritized sanctions effectiveness over protecting the US economy by a margin of 55-42.

Fewer than one in five Americans (19%) has “a great deal” of confidence in Biden’s ability to handle the crisis. Even among Democrats, just 40% of respondents are highly confident that the president will effectively manage the conflict.

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