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Americans Opposed to Boots on the Ground in Ukraine, Poll Finds

When Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February of this year, Americans were largely supportive of the Ukrainians’ efforts to withstand the assault. But as the United States’s monetary and military assistance for Ukraine has ballooned to tens of billions of dollars, the American public has become skeptical of the nation’s approach.

Recent surveys conducted by YouGov in connection with Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) asked 1000 American adults a series of questions on America’s current policy vis-à-vis Ukraine and the Russian invasion. While Americans remain supportive of efforts to economically and financially punish Russia for the invasion of its western neighbor, a plurality of respondents said the United States should not put boots on the ground to assist the Ukrainians. The survey also shows the American people, when given information about America’s pre-existing commitments to Ukraine, believe the U.S. should rein in its military assistance for the Ukrainians to be in line with wealthy European nations.

Of those surveyed from Sept. 9 through Sept. 12, 48 percent opposed “sending US troops to Ukraine to help the Ukrainian government defend itself against Russia,” while only 20 percent were in favor. Another 31 percent neither supported nor opposed such a move. A survey conducted from Sept. 1 through Sept. 6 by YouGov and CVA also found broad opposition to “direct combat for US troops in the Russia-Ukraine War.” Forty percent of respondents were strongly opposed and another 17 percent were somewhat opposed. More respondents were “somewhat opposed” to direct combat involvement by U.S. troops than “somewhat supported” (10 percent) or “strongly supported” (4 percent) U.S. troops’ involvement. Just under a fifth of respondents (18 percent) were neutral on the question.

While support for military intervention using American personnel is unpopular, respondents felt America’s efforts to sanction Russia should continue. 51 percent of respondents claimed the U.S. should continue “increasing economic and diplomatic sanctions on Russia,” while only 14 percent were opposed.

Respondents were nearly deadlocked on the question of providing more aid to Ukraine. When respondents were asked if they supported “sending additional arms and military supplies to the Ukrainian government, in addition to the more than $16 billion in military aid already sent to Ukraine this year,” 37 percent said they were in favor while 34 percent were opposed.

A majority of respondents surveyed from Sept. 9 through Sept. 12 (51 percent) said U.S. commitments to Ukraine should be in line with those of wealthy European countries. Just over one-third of respondents (34 percent) said the U.S. should be providing less military aid to Ukraine than are wealthy European nations. As it stands, U.S. aid to Ukraine outpaces most wealthy European nations, such as the U.K. and Germany, by tens of billions of dollars. Given that U.S. aid has exceeded not only that from wealthy European nations but all other nations combined, the survey asked if respondents “think the U.S. should focus more on providing our own assistance to Ukraine or encouraging other countries to provide more aid.” Nearly a two-thirds majority (60 percent) of respondents said the U.S. should focus on getting European countries to pull their own weight, while only 15 percent of respondents said America should remain focused on providing its own aid. Another 25 percent of respondents were not sure.

The Sept. 1-through-Sept. 6 poll also found that not only do respondents want the nation’s leaders to avoid sending American troops to Ukraine, but they feel the U.S. should reduce its military footprint around the globe. A plurality (42 percent) said the U.S. should be “less militarily engaged in conflicts around the world.” Another 37 percent said global U.S. military commitments should remain about the same, and only 7 percent said the U.S. should be more involved around the world.

And with so many issues plaguing the American homeland under President Joe Biden, it is unsurprising that YouGov and CVA found that just 2 percent of respondents think Biden’s top priority should be to “ensure a defeat of Russia in Ukraine.” Forty percent of respondents said Biden’s top priority should be to “lower or eliminate inflation.”

Dan Caldwell, senior advisor to CVA, had this to say about the surveys’ findings:

The United States has provided more aid to Ukraine than nearly every other country combined, despite the limited American national interests at stake in the conflict. Wealthy European countries have so far been content to allow the American taxpayer to carry the financial burden of this war, even though the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is primarily a European security challenge. It isn’t surprising that many Americans disapprove of sending more tax dollars to Ukraine while wealthy European countries are shirking their responsibilities to secure their own backyard. With so many pressing challenges at home and in other parts of the world, the American people clearly don’t want Uncle Sam to continue to play Uncle Sucker in Europe.

While the American people support a restrained vision of America’s role on the world stage, the nation’s leaders insist upon spending billions upon billions of dollars in conflicts of little strategic interest to the United States.

Note: The survey conducted from Sept. 1 to Sept. 6 has a margin of error of ±3.4 percent, and the survey conducted from Sept. 9 to Sept. 12 has a margin of error of ±3.5 percent.

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