American Voters Now View Ukraine as Favorably as France, Germany and Japan

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American voters’ perceived friends and adversaries

Source: YouGov

The figures represent the share of registered voters who called a country “an ally” or “friendly” minus the share who called a country “unfriendly” or “an enemy.”

As recently as a year ago, many Americans did not know what to make of Ukraine — if they knew anything about it at all. One-third of voters couldn’t say whether it was friendly or unfriendly to the U.S.

Not anymore.

In a striking — if perhaps not surprising — shift over the last year and since Russia’s invasion, an overwhelming majority of Americans now say Ukraine is a friendly country. In a new YouGov survey, 81 percent of Americans say Ukraine is either friendly or an ally, a figure that rivals or even exceeds that of many longtime U.S. allies like France or Japan. Only Britain, Canada and Australia earned more favorable ratings from voters.


Share of voters who view countries as …


An ally
Friendly
Not sure
Unfriendly
An enemy


YouGov, an online polling firm, has tracked the American public’s views on dozens of countries since 2017.

In recent years, American attitudes toward Ukraine have shifted more than toward any other country. When the poll tested U.S. attitudes on Ukraine in September 2019, 36 percent of registered voters were not sure whether Ukraine was friendly or unfriendly. That’s a higher share than for nearly any of the other thousands of instances when YouGov asked voters what they thought about a country over the last five years. Only 41 percent called the nation friendly or an ally.

Now, only 10 percent aren’t sure whether Ukraine is friendly, a lower tally than for almost any other country.

Nearly 70 percent of Americans now consider Russia an enemy, more than for any other country in the survey, including North Korea and Iran.

The United States has been racing to support the Ukrainian war effort, including a $13.6 billion spending plan passed all but unanimously by the House this week.


Voters’ views by party

Democrats and Republicans currently share similar perceptions of Ukraine and Russia.

Source: YouGov

The figures represent the share of registered voters who called a country “an ally” or “friendly” minus the share who called a country “unfriendly” or “an enemy.”

But exuberant public support for Ukraine has limits. Just 29 percent of voters characterized Ukraine as an ally, a figure that’s considerably lower than what the survey found for every ally with which the U.S. has a formal treaty, other than Turkey. It’s more like the 26 percent who said the same about Taiwan (in late 2021), whose relationship with the U.S. is intentionally ambiguous.

The Biden administration has said it is unwilling to intervene directly militarily because of the risk of a war with Russia. Polls show that voters overwhelmingly do not support direct military intervention either.

It is not clear whether the public understanding of Ukraine as a friendly but not allied country is partly because of the public’s skepticism of intervention, or because the administration has been clear about the limits of the U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s defense.

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