Two new surveys are shedding some light on how Americans view the crisis in Ukraine. A WaPo-ABC poll finds the public divided on Obama’s handling of the situation but united in their support for sanctions on Russia:
But Obama, who ordered sanctions Thursday against individuals aiding the takeover, receives lukewarm 42 percent approval and 43 percent disapproval marks, with a substantial 15 percent holding no opinion.
Overall, Democrats and Republicans are in rare agreement in supporting sanctions, and familiar discord about Obama. Just over six in 10 of partisans in both camps support sanctioning Russia. And in an unheard of alignment of the far left and far right, 68 percent of liberal Democrats support sanctions, as do 69 percent of conservative Republicans.
That’s really no big surprise. Now that we’re where we’re at, there aren’t too many options left on the table.
No one wants to go to war to keep Crimea Ukrainian, not even the Ukrainians. They’re more concerned about keeping Russia from annexing everything east of the Dnieper now, and trying mightily to prevent giving Vladimir Putin a pretext for doing so. Few want to just allow Putin free reign over the former Soviet republics with no consequences, either, so sanctions are about the only option we have. That’s not a partisan calculation, it’s reality.
The problem for Obama is how we ended up with so few options to stop Putin in the first place. That is why the approval rating for his handling of the situation is so low, compared to the support of the options Obama is now applying.
Another poll by Pew shows that Americans prefer to limit our involvement in Ukraine:
By a roughly two-to-one margin (56% vs. 29%), the public says it is more important for the U.S. to not get involved in the situation with Russia and Ukraine than to take a firm stand against Russian actions.
The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 6-9, 2014 among 1,003 adults, find more disapprove (44%) than approve (30%) of the way the Obama administration is handling the situation involving Russia and Ukraine, while roughly a quarter (26%) offer no opinion. … Those who are following the news very closely are more inclined than others to advocate for the U.S. to take a firm stand against Russia. Among those closely following the news, roughly as many say the U.S. should take a firm stand (47%) as prefer not getting too involved (43%).