WASHINGTON — Americans are becoming less supportive of punishing Russia for launching its invasion of Ukraine if it comes at the expense of the U.S. economy, a sign of rising anxiety over inflation and other challenges, according to a new poll.
While broad support for U.S. sanctions has not faltered, the balance of opinion on prioritizing sanctions over the economy has shifted, according to the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Now 45% of U.S. adults say the nation’s bigger priority should be sanctioning Russia as effectively as possible, while slightly more — 51% — say it should be limiting damage to the U.S. economy.
In April, those figures were exactly reversed. In March, shortly after Russia attacked Ukraine, a clear majority — 55% — said the bigger priority should be sanctioning Russia as effectively as possible.
The poll shows wide majorities of U.S. adults continue to favor imposing sanctions on Russia, banning oil imported from Russia and providing weapons to Ukraine. And most U.S. adults continue to say the U.S. should have a role in the war between Russia and Ukraine: 32% say the U.S. should have a major role in the conflict, while 49% say it should have a minor role.
Shantha Bunyan, a 43-year-old from Loveland, Colorado, said she still supports Biden and believes he’s performed better than former President Donald Trump. She’s heard jokes that the most expensive place to visit in town is the local gas station. But Bunyan, who spent years traveling abroad before the pandemic began and lived for a month in Moscow, said she believes the U.S. has to continue to sacrifice to support Ukraine’s resistance.
But Jackie Perry, a 62-year-old from Centre, Alabama, said while she sympathized with Ukrainians and believes Russia was unjustified in launching its invasion, the White House needed to focus more on the economy. She has had to cut back on driving because gas is too expensive.