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Sunday, March 13, 2022

Public Opinion and Knowledge of Ukraine

 Nate Cohn at NYT:

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.

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.