A new Politico Poll has some bad news for Republicans bashing President Obama on the Ukraine/Russia crisis. Voters in 2014 battleground states agree with the president by a nearly 2 to 1 margin.
Here are some of the highlights from the Politico Poll:
· 17% called for the U.S. to do more to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine. 31% said the current policy is correct and 34% said the U.S. should be less involved.
o Note: The poll was completed before the downing last week of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the civilian airliner that was apparently attacked by rocket fire over Eastern Ukraine.
· 67% believe that U.S. military actions should be “limited to direct threats to our national security.” Only 22% believe that as a “moral leader,” the U.S. “has a responsibility to use its military to protect democracy around the globe.”
· 77% support plans to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. Only 23% oppose the plan.
· 44% favor less involvement in Iraq’s civil war, versus 19% who favor more involvement and 23% who say the current level of involvement is appropriate.
· A 51% majority said the situation in Iraq affects U.S. national security “a little” or “not at all.” 42% said it affects U.S. national security “a lot.”
· Likely voters prefer less involvement in Syria’s civil war over more involvement, 42% to 15%. 26% support the current, limited level of involvement.
The voters in battleground states agree with the president’s positions, but they disapprove of his foreign policy by a 39%-32% margin. This dynamic is similar to the polling on the ACA. People like what the ACA does, but they claim to dislike Obamacare. This behavior by voters is representative of the fact that Republicans have been successful in criticizing this president and creating a disconnect between support for the president and his policies.
The problem for Republicans is that their calls for more action against Russia are not sitting well with a war-weary electorate. Voters are expressing a loud disagreement with anything that hints at increased military involvement. It would be interesting to see how voters feel about Ukraine/Russia situation after the Malaysian Airliner was downed, but judging from their overall attitude on all military action abroad, it probably doesn’t do much to change their anti-interventionist attitude.
These numbers are awful for Republicans are hoping to make political hay out of what they call Obama’s failure in dealing with Russia. The reality is that the vast majority of voters agree with Obama on Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, and Russia. Voters still remember the Iraq war, and Republicans are still damaged by lying the country into invading Iraq. These numbers do suggest that the electorate may be quite sympathetic to Rand Paul’s foreign policy views, but those same views are likely to keep Sen. Paul from obtaining the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
Voters in were only polled in states that featured competitive House and Senate races. The Senate states that were polled include Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia. House districts were polled from around the country.
If Republicans thought they were going to score political points based on Obama’s handling of Russia, they were wrong. Their position of more war and conflict will hurt them with voters in November if they continue down this path. Whether these voters realize it or not, they strongly agree with President Obama and the Democrats on foreign policy.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association