How should the United States respond if Russia invades Ukraine?

Linley SandersData Journalist
January 27, 2022, 9:58 PM GMT+0

An accumulation of Russian troops along the border of Ukraine in recent weeks is drawing concern from Western allies, including the United States, that Russia is poised to invade. President Joe Biden and NATO officials have proposed negotiation options to the Kremlin, but a spokesperson for Russia President Vladimir Putin warned that there is “not much cause for optimism.”

If Russia invades Ukraine, it will put the United States in the position of deciding whether to support Ukraine against a nation that many Americans label as an enemy. A new YouGov poll conducted January 24 - 26 shows that most Americans sympathize with Ukraine (55%) and believe that the U.S. should take an active part in the world’s affairs (55%), but they largely want to keep American troops out of the conflict.

When presented with a series of potential responses for the U.S. in the event that Russia attacks Ukraine, Democrats and Republicans both gravitate toward non-military intervention. Most Democrats (55%) and 46% of Republicans say the United States should impose economic sanctions on Russia if it invades Ukraine. There is similar support (56% of Democrats, 41% of Republicans) for seeking to stop the conflict via political means, such as negotiations.

No single response option received a majority of support among U.S. adults, but if the United States gets involved militarily, there is more support for sending weapons (32%) or financial aid to Ukraine (29%) than American soldiers. Across both major political parties, there is very little support for attacking Russia or sending U.S. troops to directly fight Russian soldiers. Even amid that hesitation, few Americans say that the United States should not get involved at all (16%).

About half of Americans (51%) are uncertain about Ukraine’s political future. Among those who have an opinion, they are just as likely to believe that Ukraine will be under Russian control in a year (25%) as remain an independent nation (24%).

See the toplines and crosstabs from this U.S. News poll


Methodology: This U.S. News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online on January 24 - 26, 2022. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as 2016 and 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. The margin of error is approximately 4% for the entire sample.

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