The Russia-Ukraine conflict has dominated the news for nearly a year, and has led to yet another sharp political split in the U.S. as fears grow that the conflict could spiral out of control and lead to a wider war in Europe with Russia. Average Americans are deeply concerned, the latest I&I/TIPP Poll shows.
In this month’s online I&I/TIPP Poll, taken from March 1-3 of 1,370 adults, we asked Americans a number of questions to gauge their opinions and feelings about the Russia-Ukraine war, and the U.S.’ role in supporting Ukraine.
The first question asked: “How concerned are you that the U.S. and Russia will fight a war over Ukraine?” A lot, it turns out.
Of those responding, 69% said they were either “very concerned” (35%) or “somewhat concerned” (34%). Just 23% answered they were not concerned, with 16% saying “not very concerned” and 7% saying “not at all concerned.” Another 8% said they were “not sure.”
Concern wasn’t just among members of one political party. Democrats were most concerned at 75%, but Republicans weren’t far behind at 67% and independents at 63%. All other major demographic groups were at 60% or higher.
The next question asked participants “How concerned are you that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine will lead to the use of nuclear weapons?”
Not surprisingly, the answers were a bit stronger, with 72% answering “very concerned” (36%) or “somewhat concerned” (36%), while just 21% responded they were “not concerned,” with 14% saying “not very” concerned and 7% “not at all” concerned.
Once again, the consensus across political parties was fairly strong, with Democrats at 78% “concerned,” Republicans at 71%, and independents at 65%.
In our final two questions on the Russia-Ukraine war, the poll narrowed the focus a bit.
In one question, we asked: “Do you approve or disapprove of continued military support for the Ukraine war?”
When actual military aid was involved, support weakened a bit, though it remained strong. Some 60% of those who answered said they either approved such military support “strongly” (31%) or “somewhat” (29%). Meanwhile, 26% said they “disapproved” of such aid.
But here the broad political consensus seems to break down. While 74% of Democrats support military aid to the Ukrainian government, just 52% of Republicans and 49% of independents do.
While just 15% of Dems disapprove of the aid, more than a third — 36% of Republicans and 33% of independents — disapprove.
As a final question, I&I/TIPP asked respondents: “Given the current U.S. economic condition, do you approve or disapprove of continued financial support to Ukraine?”
Support waned when couched in terms of financial support, with a bare majority of 56% saying they approved of it, with 28% saying “strongly” and another 28% saying “somewhat.”
Here, the political gap widened appreciably, with 74% of Democrats sounding their support for financial aid to the Ukraine, while just 44% of Republicans and 40% of independents agreed.
In sum, while most Americans show support for Ukraine following the February, 2022 invasion by Russia, that support is qualified and yet another area where political differences have emerged. Meanwhile, the uncivil war in Ukraine is heating up, with recent major developments that promise to keep diplomats and military officials busy:
- The International Criminal Court last week issued a warrant for the arrest of Vladimir Putin for kidnapping Ukrainian children and transporting them to Russia, while both political parties in the U.S. have sparred over whether we should be involved with helping Ukraine fight Russia.
- Newly released video shows to Russian SU-27 fighter jets dumping fuel on a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper reconnaissance drone, reportedly flying over international waters. Russia denies the incident. The U.S. alleges Russia used an “unsafe and unprofessional intercept” of the drone, which had to be ditched in the water due to damage to its propeller.
- Russian leader Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Mariupol in occupied Ukraine, his first trip to the area since the invasion over a year ago. Elsewhere, a Ukraine publication claimed “700+ Russian invaders, 21 tanks, and 8 artillery pieces wiped out in a single day in Ukraine”, bringing the total since the start of the war to 165,000 killed or wounded, 3,532 tanks and 2,568 artillery pieces destroyed, and nearly 7,000 armored combat vehicles demolished.
This, as noted, all within the last few days. And the events are having a big influence on U.S. politics, as the I&I/TIPP Poll clearly shows.
Among elected Democrats and the party’s rank and file, Ukraine has become something of a cause célèbre, with polls showing a sharp rise in Ukraine’s favorability ratings in the last year. As a result, both Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump have taken shots from Democrats for not wholeheartedly backing President Biden’s pro-Ukraine policy.
“Our objective in Ukraine is to help and secure Europe, but Europe isn’t helping itself,” Trump noted last week, in answer to his critics. “They are relying on the United States to largely do it for them. That is very unfair to us.”
DeSantis also weighed in: “While the U.S. has many vital national interests . . . becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.”
But DeSantis, Trump and others have also taken shots from within their own party, where an angry split has emerged over how much financial and military aid should be given to Ukraine. Congress last year appropriated $112 billion to the war-torn nation.
“Simply opposing aid to Ukraine because President Biden supports it is not a viable foreign policy,” New Hampshire Republican Gov. and possible presidential candidate Chris Sununu wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “To abandon Ukraine would set off a negative chain of events for U.S. interests domestically and abroad.”
Other Republicans, in particular those associated with the neo-conservative wing of the party, such as Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton, have also roundly criticized Trump and DeSantis for not supporting Ukraine.
Take another look at the I&I/TIPP data again. It shows that a small majority of both Republicans and independents now disapprove of continued U.S. financial support for Ukraine, given the U.S.’ own current economic problems. But a majority of both still support continued military aid.
While supporting Ukraine, Americans are wary. If the Ukraine war continues into next year, and the U.S. becomes further embroiled, it could turn into one of the decisive issues in the 2024 presidential election campaign, whether Trump, DeSantis and Biden decide to run or not.
I&I/TIPP publishes timely, unique and informative data each month on topics of public interest. TIPP’s reputation for polling excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.
Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.
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Geopolitics And Geoeconomics
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed China’s willingness to play a “constructive role” in solving the Ukraine crisis.
In what the Kremlin said was an article written for a Chinese newspaper, Putin called Xi his “good old friend” and said Russia had high hopes for his visit, the Chinese leader’s first to Russia since Putin launched his “special military operation” last year.
Xi and Putin signed a “no limits” partnership agreement weeks before last year’s invasion. China has publicly remained neutral in the Ukraine conflict while criticizing Western sanctions against Russia and reaffirming its close ties with Moscow.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for a “rational way” out of the Ukraine crisis but has acknowledged it will not be easy to reach a solution.
Xi said discussions could be based on China’s 12-point proposal for a political settlement published last month.
The Chinese president will be the first world leader to meet Putin since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him last week.
#3. Japan Is ‘Closely Monitoring’ Security Pact Between China, Solomon Islands, Says Foreign Minister – WION
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is in the midst of his first visit to the Solomon Islands, where he discussed global security with the island nation’s leader Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
The Japanese foreign ministry also said that the minister expressed Tokyo’s view on how the island country can “achieve long-term development while maintaining autonomy.” Sogavare said that peace and stability of the region are most important while explaining his country’s stance to Hayashi.
This comes after China and the Solomon Islands signed a security agreement in April last year, which could potentially allow Beijing to deploy its military and dock vessels in the islands.
China’s embassy in the Central African Republic has urged its citizens to avoid traveling outside the capital, Bangui. Nine Chinese nationals were killed in an attack by militants at a gold mine outside the city.
The security risk level in the Central African Republic, apart from the capital, was “red,” or very high, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
The ministry added it would work with governments and guide Chinese embassies and consulates to take further effective measures to fully safeguard Chinese citizens and enterprises in Africa.
There have been several attacks on Chinese nationals abroad in recent months, prompting embassies to issue warnings and safety alerts and conduct evacuations.
Salih Hudayar, the PM of the Uyghur exile government of East Turkestan, in a Twitter statement, called for the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for President Xi Jinping.
The East Turkestan exile government, declared in 2004 and based in Washington, D.C., is not recognized by the United States or other governments worldwide.
China has long been accused of genocide of the Uyghur people, an ethnic minority in China made mostly of Muslims native to the region who speak their language, which is similar to Turkish.
President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to express “concern” over his government’s planned overhaul of the country’s judicial system.
The plan has sparked widespread protests across Israel, and to encourage compromise.
The official, who requested anonymity to discuss the leaders’ private call, said that Biden spoke to Netanyahu “as a friend of Israel in the hopes that there can be a compromise formula found.”
There was no immediate indication that Netanyahu was shying away from the action after rejecting a compromise last week offered by the country’s figurehead president.
Saudi Arabia’s ruler King Salman has invited Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to visit the kingdom, a move welcomed by the latter after years of hostility between the two countries.
The invitation comes just over a week after the two countries announced they were restoring ties, seven years after they were severed in the wake of the torching of the Saudi embassy in Iran.
The deal is expected to see Iran and Saudi Arabia reopen their embassies and missions within two months and implement security and economic cooperation deals signed more than 20 years ago.
#8. North Korea Holds Nuclear Counterattack Simulation Drills; Kim Urges Perfect Readiness: KCNA – Yonhap
North Korea said it conducted drills simulating a tactical nuclear counterattack against its enemies over the weekend. The U.S. and South Korea are staging their joint annual military exercise.
The North said its two-day practice to counter the South Korea-U.S. “war” drills for invasion consisted of three parts — an exercise for managing the nuclear strike control system, an actual training for switching to a nuclear counterattack posture, and training for launching a tactical ballistic missile tipped with a mock nuclear warhead.
Hibatullah Akhundzada, the head of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, announced the decision, aiming nepotism in the government.
“The leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan … give a verbal directive to the officials of the Emirate institutions to dismiss their children from work,” the statement tweeted by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan reads.
The Afghan Islamic Press reported that the decree by Akhundzada comes on the heels of allegations that some Taliban officials hired their unqualified sons to prominent positions in the government.
The CEO of OpenAI, the company that spawned ChatGPT, has raised some serious concerns about its dangerous capabilities and how it might impact the livelihood of millions of people.
“It is going to eliminate a lot of current jobs, that’s true. We can make much better ones. The reason to develop AI at all, in terms of impact on our lives and improving our lives and upside, this will be the greatest technology humanity has yet developed,” he said.
Regarding AI-powered chatbots’ impact on education, Altman said it would “increase laziness among students.”
He remained adamant that ChatGPT would be a net boon for society.
The U.N. is poised to release a capstone report distilling nearly a decade of published science on the impacts and trajectory of global warming and the tools available to prevent climate catastrophe.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 30-odd page “summary for policymakers” — compressing 10,500 pages authored by more than 1,000 scientists — is as dense as a black hole and will deliver a stark warning.
Since the last IPCC synthesis report in 2014, science has determined that devastating impacts are happening more quickly and at lower levels of warming than previously understood.
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Republished with permission from TIPP Insights