Just one in three Americans support the U.S. supplying Ukraine with cluster bombs

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
Carl BialikU.S. Politics Editor and Vice President of Data Science
July 19, 2023, 6:56 PM GMT+0

More than 500 days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the latest Economist/YouGov poll finds that Americans have become less likely to believe that allowing Ukraine to join NATO is a good idea: 42% say it is a good idea, down 10 percentage points since April (the April poll asked about NATO admission for Ukraine as well as other countries, and with slightly different wording). Support among Democrats has dropped 13 points; among Republicans, it has dropped 12 points. The drop in Democratic support coincides with an even larger increase in the share of Democrats who are unsure.

Most Americans remain generally supportive of U.S. membership in NATO. By 66% to 12%, Americans want to maintain the U.S. commitment to defend any NATO member that has been attacked.

Nearly all Americans support the U.S. providing some form of support to Ukraine. About half would want the U.S. to either continue providing the same level of military aid to Ukraine (29%) or increase it (23%); 29% would reduce aid. There has been no significant change in these figures in the last month. There also has been no significant drop since March in the levels of support for sending tanks, fighter jets, and long-range missiles to Ukraine. Compared to these forms of aid, however, there is less support for the recent U.S. decision to send cluster bombs to Ukraine: 33% favor doing so and 42% oppose it.

For every form of support to Ukraine asked about, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to favor providing it.

Nearly half of Americans (46%) say they have heard nothing at all about Russia’s arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, but those with an opinion overwhelmingly believe he has not been treated fairly in Russia: 47% of Americans believe he has not been, compared to 6% who say he has been treated fairly.

More than one-third of Americans — including 31% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans — want the U.S. government to do more to secure his release from Russia. By 44% to 21%, Americans strongly or somewhat approve of a prisoner swap — Gershkovich for a Russian prisoner or prisoners — rather than strongly or somewhat disapproving. Democrats (55%) are more likely than Republicans (37%) to approve of a prisoner swap.

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on July 15 - 18, 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 November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty (Anton Petrus)