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Poll: Majority of Americans Support Continued Aid for Ukraine

FILE - Workers unload a shipment of military aid delivered as part of the U.S.'s security assistance to Ukraine, at Boryspil airport, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 11, 2022, less than two weeks before Russia's invasion of its neighbor.

A majority of Americans (57%) believe the United States should continue sending military and financial aid to the people of Ukraine in their fight against Russian aggression, according to a new poll released Thursday.

In an annual survey by the Ronald Reagan Institute, only a third (33%) say they believe the United States cannot afford to spend more on the conflict and risk further provoking Russia.

Eighty-two percent of respondents perceive Russia as an enemy, a survey high since its inception in 2018 and up significantly from last year, when about two-thirds (65%) of respondents viewed Russia as an enemy.

Relatedly, 76% of Americans consider Ukraine an ally, a significant increase from 2021 when less than half (49%) of respondents felt that way.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24. Russia launched a series of missile attacks and sent up to 200,000 Russian soldiers into Ukraine in an effort to depose the government and control Ukrainian territory. Russian forces quickly captured territory in the coming days but failed to take Kyiv. Since then, Ukrainian forces have dealt Russian forces a series of humiliating retreats in the north and south.

Consistent with previous Ronald Reagan Institute surveys, a majority (60%) of Americans have a favorable view of NATO, as the alliance has strengthened to support Ukraine and bolster defenses on its eastern flank with Russia.

China and Taiwan war perceived as looming threats

Americans are increasingly worried about the threat that China poses, with three-quarters (75%) saying that they view China as an enemy, up from nearly two-thirds (65%) in 2021 and slightly more than half (55%) in 2018.

A plurality of those surveyed view China as the country that poses the greatest threat to the United States, and 70% share concern about the threat of China invading Taiwan in the next five years.

China views Taiwan as its own territory, and Chinese President Xi Jinping said in October Beijing will never renounce the right to use force to control Taiwan while striving for a peaceful resolution.

Taiwan responded in October that it will not back down on its sovereignty or compromise on freedom and democracy.

While there is bipartisan support to deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan with increased U.S. military presence near Taiwan and more arms sales to the island, a majority of those surveyed (54%) say the U.S. lacks a “clear strategy” for managing its relationship with China.

And should China invade Taiwan, 43% say they would support committing U.S. ground troops to the democratic island’s defense, while about a third (36%) say they would oppose sending troops.

Public confidence

Public confidence in the U.S. military has eroded in the U.S., with only 48% of this survey’s respondents saying they have “a great deal” of trust and confidence in the military, compared to 70% of respondents in 2018.

That is due to a variety of factors, according to the survey, including a belief by the majority of respondents that military leadership is overly politicized and more than half (60%) of respondents blaming the performance and competence of presidents as commanders-in-chief.