(NewsNation Now) — A new NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll reveals concerns about Russia’s threat to the United States have surged in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — more so than even China, which until last month vastly outpaced all other perceived diplomatic threats.
A majority of Americans support the United States stepping in to aid Ukraine, according to the poll. Forty-five percent of respondents say they support an expanded U.S. role in the Russia-Ukraine crisis compared to 37 percent who don’t, according to the poll. Eighteen percent of respondents weren’t sure how the nation should help Ukraine. The definition of an expanded role was not clarified in the polling.
“Given where we are in the news cycle, I can’t say I’m surprised but it is the biggest movement (of sentiment),” said Scott Tranter, a Decision Desk HQ adviser.
NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ asked more than 1,000 registered voters about their thoughts about President Joe Biden, the biggest concerns facing the country and their worries about the COVID-19 pandemic. Most poll questions had a margin of error of about 3 percent, and the data was compiled on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Recent developments in Ukraine weren’t a factor in this poll.
More than 1,000 registered voters were asked which countries they considered to be America’s greatest adversary and 38 percent said Russia, a 23-point increase from January. Meanwhile, only 30 percent said China, a 15-point drop. An ABC-Washington Post poll released Friday indicates Americans’ negative views about Russia have risen to levels last seen during the Cold War.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has stretched into day five, but Biden has made it clear the U.S. would go after Russia financially, not militarily.
“Our forces are not and will not be engaged in the conflict with Russia in Ukraine,” Biden said.
Comparatively, respondents were less likely to favor intervening and defending Taiwan compared to Ukraine; likely indicating that tensions between China and Taiwan are less important to the average American in the current political and media landscape.
China has refused to either condemn or endorse Russia’s actions, despite its insistence on upholding national sovereignty above all. Assistant Secretary of State Joel Rubin said the similarities between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping form the foundation of the relationship.
“Birds of a feather flock together, as they say, and they do seem to have a lot of alignment in how they’re going about their business in their regions,” Rubin said on “Morning in America.” last week “We see Vladimir Putin dismembering Ukraine right now and threatening Europe. And then we see Jinping on the other side, threatening Taiwan on a weekly basis and really making Asia very nervous about where he’s going in terms of expanding China.”
Taiwan continues to be the main irritant in U.S.-China relations, particularly as successive U.S. administrations have approved arms sales to the island and increased high-level contacts with the democratically elected government in Taipei.
The U.S. announced stiffer restrictions for Russia on Monday, prohibiting transactions with the Russian Central Bank and National Wealth Fund in dollars, meaning those banks won’t be able to access hundreds of billions of assets in the United States or in dollars.
Over the weekend, the U.S., EU, U.K. and Canada imposed harsher sanctions on Russia, even personally sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister.
Other sanctions include cutting key Russian banks out of the SWIFT financial messaging system, which daily moves countless billions of dollars between more than 11,000 banks and other financial institutions around the world.
The latest NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll was conducted on Feb. 23 and 24, early in the days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The poll was conducted partially as Russia was advancing on Ukraine and then, on Thursday, after it had invaded. As a result, views may have evolved as the situation in Europe did. Tranter says the developing situation will swing voter sentiment on a daily basis.
“If we had taken (the poll) today or tomorrow and Russia decides to use thermobaric weapons inside cities, then we may say ‘Hey, people think (the threat) is worse,’” Tranter said. “Or if they actually have peace talks tomorrow and Putin apologizes, it all moves around.”
NewsNation poll results also revealed voters’ dwindling confidence in President Joe Biden with 57% of respondents at least somewhat disapproving of his performance as president.
You can read the full NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll here. To learn how you can watch all our coverage, use our channel finder.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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