Most Americans favor some aid to Ukraine, though fewer expect a Ukrainian victory

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
March 17, 2023, 9:13 PM GMT+0

Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February last year, a majority of Americans have come to view Russia as an enemy, polling by the Economist/YouGov finds. The share with this perception dipped briefly to 48% in mid-January but has since risen to 53%, including 61% of Democrats and 50% of Republicans.

Russia President Vladimir Putin is held in low regard by members of both parties, with more than half of Americans expressing a "very unfavorable" opinion of him. Only one in four Americans say they desire the U.S. to have a closer relationship with Russia.

Economist/YouGov Polls consistently show that American sympathies overwhelmingly lie with Ukraine, not Russia, in the conflict. However, recent developments may have led to a perception that the war could be reaching a stalemate. Last week, more Americans believed Ukraine was beating Russia (31% to 18%). This week, as many believe Russia is ahead as say Ukraine is (23% to 23%); 36% say neither is.

Republicans, by 29% to 19%, say Russia is winning. Democrats are more likely to believe Ukraine is; just 25% say Russia is compared to 35% who say Ukraine.

As many Americans this week believe Russia will eventually win as say Ukraine will (18% vs. 18%, with 15% saying they're equally likely to win). Last week, 30% believed Ukraine’s defense eventually would be successful, compared with 24% who expected a Russian victory. By a margin of 19 percentage points, Democrats currently expect a Ukrainian victory. Republicans are more likely to expect a Russian win, by 17 points.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump have expressed skepticism about whether the U.S. should continue its support for Ukraine. After most of this poll was completed, DeSantis said that Russia was not “a vital interest to the United States.”

Like Republican Party leaders, Republicans are divided over providing certain kinds of support to Ukraine. Currently, fewer Republicans support U.S. financial support to Ukraine than oppose it (38% to 43%). Republicans also are closely divided on whether the U.S. should provide Ukraine with fighter jets: 39% support doing so while 41% oppose it.

Majorities of Republicans who have very favorable opinions of DeSantis are opposed to supplying Ukraine with either financial or fighter-jet support. More Americans overall favor than oppose each of those two actions. There is even more support among all American adults for two other kinds of support: sending food and medical assistance, or tanks. But just 23% want to send U.S. troops to Ukraine.

— Carl Bialik and Linley Sanders contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on March 11 - 14, 2023 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens.

Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to June 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (34% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Adobe Stock (MasterSergeant)