Sunday, July 14, 2024

Americans see Ukraine as a burden: Polls

Americans are increasingly turning against funding Ukraine’s conflict with Russia, two recent opinion polls have shown. Partisan divisions have had a serious impact on attitudes towards the provision of aid in the United States.

In a survey conducted by The Financial Times and the Michigan Ross business school, 48% of Americans said they believed their nation was spending too much on military and financial aid to Kiev. Only 27% said the amount was right, and 11% believed the US was not spending enough. The British newspaper reported the results on Sunday.

GOP voters were the most likely to say the US assistance to Ukraine was excessive, with 65% of Republicans giving that answer, compared to 52% of independents and 32% of Democrats.

The shifting attitudes were also reflected in a Pew survey on the same issue, the results of which the pollster released last Friday. In that study, 31% of respondents said the US was spending too much, compared to 29% who supported the current level, 18% who considered it not sufficient, and 22% who said they were not sure.

Last week, senators from the Republican opposition blocked a White House request for over $110 billion in additional foreign security spending, of which more than $60 billion was earmarked for Ukraine.

The administration of President Joe Biden has argued that if the US stopped funding Ukraine, American soldiers would have to fight Russians directly. He insisted that Moscow would attack NATO after beating Ukraine, prompting a rebuke from the Kremlin.

Just 33% of Americans surveyed in the Pew poll said Russia was a major threat to the US, while 34% called it a minor threat, and 10% said it posed no threat at all. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to perceive Russia as a major threat, with a 40% to 27% gap.

Republican Senator J.D. Vance made the case for the skeptical position on bankrolling Ukraine that some lawmakers in his party share during CNN’s State of the Union program on Sunday.

“The idea that Ukraine was going to throw Russia back to the 1991 borders was preposterous. Nobody actually believed it,” he told host Jake Tapper. Opponents want Biden to explain “what $61 billion is going to accomplish that a hundred billion dollars hasn’t.”

Both surveys were conducted online, between December 5 and 6 and between November 27 and December 3, respectively. The FT-Michigan Ross poll reflects the opinions of 1,004 registered voters, and has a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points. The Pew survey involved 5,203 people, and has a margin of error of ±1.8 percentage points.

Kiev has announced Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will pay a visit to the US on December 12. He is set to meet with his American counterpart who extended the invitation, according to the White House.

“Among the key topics at the talks in Washington will be the continuation of defense cooperation between Ukraine and the United States, in particular, joint projects for the production of weapons and air defense systems, as well as coordination of efforts of the two states next year,” the announcement on Sunday said.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed Zelensky’s visit in a statement, adding that the meeting is intended “to underscore the United States’ unshakeable commitment to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s brutal invasion”. The “urgent needs” of the country will be discussed “as Russia ramps up its missile and drone strikes,” Washington stressed.

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