With Ukraine and Russia seemingly on the verge of war, Americans are unhappy with how President Joe Biden is handling the situation.
According to recent polling, a majority of Americans disapprove of how Biden is handling the situation with Russia and his foreign policy moves in general.
The Russia-Ukraine crisis began late in 2021 when Ukraine announced that Russia was massing troops at its border with plans for an offensive at the beginning of this year.
Throughout December and January, Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if Russia invaded Ukraine, there would be economic repercussions from the West. He also assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the U.S. would respond decisively if Russia did invade.
However, in a Jan. 19 news conference, the president gave Russia what some called a “green light” to invade with minimal consequences.
“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do,” he said.
Biden on Russia invading Ukraine:
“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion…” pic.twitter.com/BFp5jnJYPI
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 19, 2022
Russia denied any hostile motives in its troop moves but demanded that NATO stop all military activity in eastern Europe and never accept Ukraine as a member of the treaty organization.
The tensions eventually led to NATO and the U.S. putting troops on standby in eastern Europe and the Bush administration saying NATO will keep its “open door” policy for member nations.
Throughout February, tensions have risen. This week, Putin signed a decree recognizing two breakaway pro-Russian states in Eastern Ukraine as independent countries and ordered so-called peacekeepers into those territories.
In the midst of this international crisis, Americans are not happy with Biden.
In the Morning Consult/Politico survey, 45 percent of respondents said they disapproved of how Biden was handling the crisis, compared with just 40 percent who approved. Sixteen percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion.
In a separate question, the pollster said, “If the conflict between Ukraine and Russia led to further increases in U.S. gasoline prices, to what extent would you say each of the following were responsible, if at all?”
For Biden, 35 percent of the respondents said he would be “very responsible” and 23 percent at least “somewhat responsible.” Only 15 percent of those polled said the president would be “not too responsible,” and a mere 13 percent said he would be “not responsible at all.”
Over half of those polled also blamed Putin, with 58 percent saying he would be “very responsible.”
The survey of 2,005 registered voters was conducted Saturday through Monday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Meanwhile, Gallup’s poll showed that a majority of Americans are displeased with how Biden is handling foreign affairs in general. Only 40 percent of respondents approved of the president’s foreign policy and only 36 percent approved of how he is handling Russia.
That poll was conducted via telephone Feb. 1-17 with a random sample of 1,008 U.S. adults. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
The 40 percent approval represented a drop of 16 percentage points from a year ago, according to Gallup. In the February 2021 poll, 56 percent approved of Biden’s foreign policy.
But his approval severely declined after the chaos of the Afghanistan withdrawal, and it has remained low amid the crisis in Ukraine.
2 in 5 voters approve of Biden’s handling of the Ukraine crisis, while 45% disapprove. The numbers are better than perceptions of his handling of Afghanistan at the dawn of that crisis, when 51% disapproved and 31% approved. https://t.co/SZivI9JfcP pic.twitter.com/zAZWfmUYz4
— Morning Consult (@MorningConsult) February 23, 2022
A Pew Research poll in January showed that many Americans do not consider Russia’s threat to Ukraine an issue in which the U.S. should get tied up.
While the survey found that a majority of Americans consider Russia a competitor on the world stage, only 26 percent said they considered the Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s border a significant threat to U.S. interests.
About a third of Americans said it was only a minor threat, and another third said they were not sure how Russian actions toward Ukraine affected the U.S.
As the crisis deepens, how Biden handles the situation could be one of the major factors that will determine whether he will keep the support of his party and the American people overall.
“Biden’s ability to navigate the current conflict with Russia, take steps to combat inflation, and preside over a now improving COVID-19 situation will be key factors in determining whether he can regain support among Democrats and independents and improve his overall job rating,” Gallup reported.