Americans support limited U.S. intervention in Ukraine to prevent escalation with Russia

New NPR/Ipsos poll also finds that as gas prices reach an all-time high, inflation is overwhelmingly Americans' top concern.

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • James Diamond Senior Research Manager, Public Affairs
  • Hailey Foster Research Analyst, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, March 24, 2022 - A new NPR/Ipsos poll finds that Americans have seen reporting on the war in Ukraine and are largely able to parse out its facts from Russian misinformation. There is bi-partisan support for admitting Ukrainian refugees to the U.S. and for U.S. businesses to stop doing business in Russia. However, this increasingly rare bipartisanship support dissipates when it comes to President Biden’s handling of the war. That said, far more Americans prefer to limit American support if it means avoiding military conflict with Russia, which a majority believe Biden has done a good job of.

Detailed Findings

1. The American public is watching the war in Ukraine unfold and are generally able to correctly identify facts about the war from misinformation.

  • More than eight in ten (84%) have seen reporting about Ukrainian president Zelensky, while six in ten (60%) have watched videos of the war on social media.
  • Most know that Ukraine did not attack Russia first (83%) nor is the country governed by Nazis or neo-Nazis (70%).
  • Americans are also well-aware that the U.S. has imposed economic sanctions on Russia (82%).
  • Seven in ten (69%) correctly identified that 3 million people had fled Ukraine at the time this poll was in field.
  • However, 57% don’t know whether the U.S. has biological weapon labs in Ukraine, which is false, and part of the Russian disinformation campaign.

2. Americans support humanitarian and economic involvement by the U.S. but overwhelmingly prefer to limit support in the war if it leads to military conflict with Russia.

  • Three in four (74%) support admitting Ukrainian civilians fleeing the war to the U.S., including a majority of Democrats (81%) and Republicans (66%).
  • Just over half (55%) would personally be willing to support settlement of Ukrainian refugees in their community.
  • A large, bipartisan majority, agree that no U.S. company should be doing business in Russia (71%).
  • A plurality (39%) think the U.S. should be doing more when it comes to the war in Ukraine. Few (7%) feel the country should be doing less.
  • However, when forced to choose between giving Ukraine all the support it wants, even if it risks wider conflict between Russia and the United States (17%) and giving Ukraine some, but not all, of the support it wants to avoid a larger military conflict between Russia and the United States (62%), Americans are over three times more likely to choose the latter.image

3. More Americans say President Biden has been too cautious in supporting Ukraine than believe his administration has had a good response. However, the president receives majority support in two key areas: avoiding escalation with Russia and putting economic pressure on the country.

  • Just over one in three (36%) rate President Biden’s response as good. This is heavily split along party lines, with six in ten Democrats (62%) rating his performance as good compared to one in ten Republicans (11%).
  • Nearly half (45%) say Joe Biden has been too cautious in supporting Ukraine. Again, this is driven by partisanship (60% of Republicans vs. 35% of Democrats). 
  • A majority of Americans believe the Biden administration has done a good job avoiding direct military conflict with Russia (58%) and putting economic pressure on Russia (54%).

4. Americans are feeling the impacts of inflation as it becomes their top concern.

  • Inflation (42%) is overwhelmingly the top concern for Americans, with political extremism (27%), crime (26%), and climate change (23%) as second tier concerns.
  • Nearly all (94%) correctly identify that the average price of food, gas, and housing has increased compared to this time last year.
  • Roughly nine in ten say the amount they spend on gas, fuel, or energy (91%) and food (88%) has increased over the last year.
  • A bi-partisan majority support releasing more oil and gas from the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve and requiring energy companies to cap gasoline costs during the Ukraine conflict.

About the Study

This NPR/Ipsos survey was conducted March 18-21, 2022 by Ipsos using our KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,006 general population adults aged 18 or older.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The study was conducted in both English and Spanish. The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, household income, Census region, metropolitan status, and party identification. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2021 March Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS). Party identification benchmark from an average of recent high-quality probability polls.

  • Age (18-22, 23-38, 39-54, 55+) by Gender (Male, Female)
  • Race/ethnicity (White, Non-Hispanic; Black, Non-Hispanic; Other/2+ races, Non-Hispanic; Hispanic
  • Education (Less than High School, High School graduate, Some College, Bachelor or higher)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000; $25,000-$49,999; $50,000-$74,999; $75,000-$99,999; $100,000-$149,999; $150,000 and over)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Metropolitan Status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Party Identification (Democrat, Republican, Independent, None)

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.16. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • James Diamond Senior Research Manager, Public Affairs
  • Hailey Foster Research Analyst, Public Affairs