Large bipartisan majority approves U.S. military aid to Ukraine
Majority opposes urging Ukraine to enter peace negotiations before Russia commits to withdrawing forces
Kull is Program Director of the Program for Public Consultation.
A bipartisan majority of seven-in-ten voters favor the U.S. continuing to provide significant military aid to Ukraine to help in their ongoing war with Russia, according to an in-depth study by the Program for Public Consultation together with the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy.
Continuing to provide military aid to Ukraine, including military equipment, ammunition, training and intelligence, was favored by 69%, including 55% of Republicans, 87% of Democrats and 58% of independents. The sample was large enough to enable analysis of attitudes in very Republican and very Democratic districts based on Cook PVI ratings. In both very red and very blue congressional districts, equally large majorities (71%) favored continuing military aid.
The public consultation survey of 2,445 registered voters ensured that respondents understood the issues by first providing a briefing on the history of Ukraine-Russia relations, the events and circumstances leading up to the 2022 invasion, and the current state of the war. They were presented several proposals in detail, and evaluated arguments for and against each before making their final recommendation. The content was reviewed by experts from each side of the debates, to ensure that the briefing was accurate and balanced and that the arguments presented were the strongest ones being made.
Ukraine’s stance has been that it will not start negotiations until Russia first commits to withdraw all its forces from Ukraine. Some Members of Congress and foreign policy leaders have proposed that the U.S. pressure Ukraine to start peace negotiations without this precondition.
When informed about the situation and asked whether the U.S. should “encourage” Ukraine to enter into negotiations, “whether or not Russia first commits to withdraw from all of Ukraine,” 56% said the U.S. should not, including 68% of Democrats and 53% of Independents, but less than half of Republicans (47%).
Recently the Biden administration shifted its position on US fighter jets, allowing NATO allies to send U.S.-made jets to Ukraine, with the U.S. training Ukrainian pilots to operate these jets. A bipartisan majority of 73% approved of this move, including 63% of Republicans, 86% of Democrats, and 64% of independents.
Respondents evaluated arguments for and against continuing military aid, the full text of which can be found in the Questionnaire. The strongest argument was that the U.S. has a duty to help counter Russia’s violation of international law by assisting Ukraine, which was found convincing by 83% (Republicans 76%, Democrats 92%, independents 78%). Close behind was the argument that it is important for U.S. security that Russia does not gain a foothold in Europe, because if they attack a NATO member it would trigger an all-out war (78% convincing, Republicans 70%, Democrats 88%, independents 73%).
The arguments against were found convincing by approximately half of respondents. Majorities of Republicans found them convincing but less than the majorities of Republicans that found the pro arguments convincing. The argument that U.S. involvement risks escalation to nuclear conflict with Russia was found convincing by 46% (Republicans 55%, Democrats 33%, independents 58%). The argument that Europe is perfectly capable of handling the problem itself and that this conflict isn’t going to collapse the world order was found convincing by 52% (Republicans 63%, Democrats 36%, independents 63%).
“Overwhelming bipartisan majorities of Americans agree that it is critical for the U.S. to help uphold the international law against cross-border aggression, even in the face of the risk of escalating to nuclear war,” commented Steven Kull, director of PPC. “While Republicans and independents are responsive to the arguments that the Europeans should take care of the problem, and that the nuclear risks are high, in the end they come out in favor of U.S. involvement.”
Respondents were also asked about the U.S. providing humanitarian aid, including food, shelter and funds for critical infrastructure repair. A bipartisan eight-in-ten were in favor, including 92% of Democrats, 72% of Republicans and 73% of independents.
The survey was fielded online June 15-28, 2023 with a probability-based national sample of 2,445 registered voters provided by Nielsen Scarborough from its larger sample, which is recruited by telephone and mail from a random sample of households. The margin of error is +/- 2%.
The full report can be found here.