Most Americans oppose boycotts of Russian-owned small businesses in the U.S.

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
March 29, 2022, 8:09 PM GMT+0

Earlier this month, a YouGov poll revealed that a majority of Americans supported boycotts of Russian-made liquor in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. About one in three also reported that they were personally participating in such boycotts. However, recent reporting finds that in some instances, boycotts have extended beyond large Russian corporations to small American-based businesses run by Russian immigrants or Americans with Russian heritage. A number of business owners – some Russian and some not – have reportedly experienced vandalism, harassment, and discrimination as a result of their perceived connection to Russia.

Compared to other racial, ethnic, and religious minority groups asked about in a YouGov survey conducted from March 22 to 25, Americans are somewhat less likely to say that Russian people in the United States today face discrimination. A roughly even share of people say that Christian people and Russian people face at least a fair amount of discrimination in the U.S.

Only 15% of Americans support boycotts of local small businesses owned by Russian immigrants in the U.S., while 60% of Americans oppose such boycotts. Fewer – 9% – say they are personally boycotting local businesses owned by Russian immigrants.

Americans who believe that at least half of Russian immigrants in the U.S. support the invasion of Ukraine are more likely to say they support boycotts of Russian small businesses: 32% are in favor while 50% are opposed. However, few Americans believe that most Russian immigrants (or Americans with Russian heritage) support the invasion. Only 8% say that most or all Russian immigrants living in the U.S. are supportive of the invasion and another 10% say about half are supportive.

There has also been some debate over whether Russian athletes should be barred from competing in sporting events, especially if they have historically been vocal supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. As The New York Times has reported, Russia is now “barred from World Cup qualifiers in soccer and its basketball teams cut from international play. Tennis called off its Moscow tournament, and Formula 1 ended ties with the Russian Grand Prix.”

We find that Americans are somewhat more likely to oppose (38%) rather than support (28%) allowing Russian athletes to compete in international sporting events. A significant proportion – 34% – are not sure. Of Americans who say Russian athletes should be allowed to compete in international competitions, 62% say they should be allowed to compete under the name and flag of Russia, while 19% say they should not be allowed to.

Americans are evenly divided on whether or not Russian athletes should be required to denounce Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in order to compete in international events: 31% support requiring a denouncement while 30% oppose this requirement.

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 between March 22 - 25, 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 news interest 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.

Image: Getty

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