19.09.22 USA Review

Two thirds of Americans believe the US should support Ukraine until it returns all occupied territories

These are the results of a Gallup poll conducted at the end of August. 36% of Americans consider American assistance to Ukraine to be insufficient, and only 31% believe that a peace deal as soon as possible is in the US’s best interests, even at the cost of Ukraine's territorial losses. The mood among the Republican Party’s supporters is murkier: 43% consider American assistance excessive. On the whole, however, American support for Ukraine seems to have grown over the summer.

While much attention has been paid to the dynamics of European public opinion regarding the war in Ukraine, corresponding opinions among Americans have drawn relatively little attention. While the United States will not be freezing this winter, the consequences of the energy war have been indirectly affecting US markets, and the position of American voters largely determines how cautious or, conversely, how decisive the White House will be in helping Ukraine.

In August, Gallup asked Americans two questions about the events in Ukraine. In the first part of the survey, respondents were asked what, in their opinion, the United States should aim to achieve in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict: to end the war as soon as possible, even if Russia retains the occupied territories, or to return these territories to Ukraine, even if this prolongs the conflict. 31% were in favour of the former and 66% of the latter. Pro-Ukrainian sentiments were more pronounced among people over 65 (75%) and those with a higher education (74%). But the main divide on this issue runs along the line of party preferences. While 79% of Democratic Party voters hold pro-Ukrainian views, supporters of the first and second options are divided equally among Republicans (46% versus 50%). However, among independent voters, the distribution is the same as in the whole cohort: 64% are ready to support Ukraine in returning its occupied territories, and 34% want the war to end as soon as possible.

In the second part of the survey, respondents were asked whether American aid to Ukraine is excessive, sufficient, or insufficient. The answers were as follows: 24% - 38% - 36%. It should be noted that these figures are significantly higher than the data of the May poll of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, in which 31% of respondents considered the provided assistance = to be excessive, and only 25% considered it to be insufficient.

In the answers to this question, pro-Ukrainian sentiments were once again stronger among the elderly (46% consider the amount of aid provided to Ukraine to be insufficient, possibly projecting their experience of life during the Cold War onto the situation) and the educated (42%). Just like in the first part of the poll, supporters of the Republican Party showed much more isolationism: 43% of Republicans consider American assistance to Ukraine excessive, while only 9% of supporters of the Democratic Party agree. 46% of Democratic voters consider assistance to be insufficient, opposed to only 30% of Republican voters.

It’s important to not that not only are the answers very different, but the position of the Democrats in relation to Ukraine looks much more consolidated, while the Republicans are split in half on both issues (if we contrast the position "aid is excessive" with the positions "aid is sufficient" and "not enough aid").

It should be noted that the Gallup poll was conducted before the successful counter-offensive of the Ukrainian army, but after the impressive strikes against Russian military rear lines, inflicted with the help of HIMARS systems.