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Last Friday, in collaboration with European allies, President Biden announced a new $3 billion military assistance package to Ukraine, the latest in what has been a steady stream of American military, economic and humanitarian assistance since Russia invaded. The aid has been met with praise from the Ukrainian military, which has recently endured repeated Russian drone attacks against critical infrastructure and heavy fighting in the eastern city of Bakhmut. And at first glance, Americans appear supportive of such aid too — but as the war enters its 11th month, there are signs that their interest in helping Ukraine is fading, especially among Republicans.
If we take Americans at their word, they’re still paying attention to the war in Ukraine: A Big Village poll from December found that 57 percent of adults said they had been following the war, a number that has held steady since they began asking the question in July 2022. The actual percentage is likely lower, though, as studies have shown that survey respondents tend to overstate their news consumption. Something we know for sure, though, is that Americans are expressing less concern about the conflict: December polling from Morning Consult found that only 41 percent of voters were “very concerned” about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, down from 58 percent who said the same in March of last year. The same poll showed a decline in the share of voters who felt that the U.S. has a responsibility to protect Ukraine from Russia, from 47 percent in March to 40 percent in December.
Americans are still largely supportive of some sort of aid to Ukraine, though. In a preelection November poll from TIPP Insights, 68 percent of registered voters said it’s important for the new Congress to direct assistance to Ukraine. And in a YouGov/CBS News poll released earlier this week, 64 percent of adults said they preferred their representatives to support U.S. aid to Ukraine rather than oppose it.
But that doesn’t mean the public will necessarily support more aid. A plurality of Americans already believed that the U.S. was doing enough to assist Ukraine in the conflict. A Beacon Research/Shaw & Co. poll conducted in December for Fox News showed that 40 percent of registered voters felt the U.S. was doing “about the right amount” to help Ukraine. An additional 26 percent thought it should be doing less; only 29 percent felt the U.S. should be doing more. The Morning Consult poll showed similar numbers, but it also showed that support for aiding Ukraine has slipped since the spring: In March, only 12 percent of registered voters felt the U.S. was doing too much to halt the invasion, but that number had risen to 24 percent in December.
The cooler support for more aid may be due to a growing partisan divide on the issue. In the YouGov/CBS News poll, a narrow majority of Republicans (52 percent) wanted their representative in Congress to oppose aid, whereas 81 percent of Democrats wanted theirs to support it. A mid-December poll from CivicScience also showed a wide partisan gap, with 83 percent of Democrats supporting military aid to Ukraine versus 53 percent of Republicans. At the beginning of the war, though, support among Republicans was almost as high as it was among Democrats: In March, another YouGov/CBS News poll showed that 75 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats supported sending weapons and supplies to Ukraine.
Indeed, whereas initial aid packages — which also totaled in the dozens of billions — to Ukraine passed Congress with strong bipartisan support, the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives seems lukewarm at best to the idea of additional assistance. In October, now-Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy suggested that if Republicans took control of the chamber they would resist further aid to Ukraine, saying that a Republican majority would not write the country a “blank check.” He has since tried to walk back those comments, but some conservative lawmakers in his party are still staunchly opposed to additional funding. This includes many hardliners who blocked McCarthy’s initial bids for speaker and successfully pushed for rule changes that would help them reduce defense spending and could allow them to grind House business to a halt. Any bill that includes additional assistance to Ukraine will have to get through them first.
Other polling bites
The pressure has been mounting on Rep. George Santos, as the fabricated qualifications he campaigned on — from his work history to his education to his religious background — have led local New York Republican leaders to call for his resignation. Polling conducted by YouGov last week, however, suggests that Americans don’t see Santos as an outlier: Seventy-four percent believed that it’s at least somewhat common for politicians to lie about their qualifications while running for office, a number that remains high among both Democrats (72 percent) and Republicans (82 percent). And that belief extends beyond politics, as 65 percent of Americans also said that lying about a person’s experience or background was at least somewhat common among people seeking employment in general. Per a recent Gallup survey, Americans are divided on whether businesses should take public stances on current events: Forty-eight percent said they should, and 52 percent said they should not. Young adults under 30 were more likely (59 percent) to say companies should voice an opinion than any other age group, while a far greater share of Democrats (75 percent) thought so than Republicans (18 percent). A large racial disparity also emerged, with many more Asian Americans (74 percent) and Black Americans (72 percent) in favor of businesses taking stances than Hispanic Americans (49 percent) and white Americans (41 percent). Although Twitter has been surfacing in the headlines since Elon Musk’s takeover of the company, a Data for Progress survey found that a majority of likely voters (60 percent) never use the site, and that doesn’t vary much by party. Instead, it appears that Facebook continues to reign supreme: Forty-three percent of likely voters said they used the site more than once a day, while an additional 26 percent reported logging on at least multiple times a week. That said, it doesn’t appear most are frequenting social sites for political purposes: About two-thirds of likely voters (64 percent) said that they do not use social media to access political news. Leading up to Tuesday night’s broadcast of the 80th Golden Globe Awards, 60 percent of American adults reported having no intention of tuning in, according to a CivicScience survey conducted Jan. 10. Notably, a plurality of 18- to 24-year-olds (42 percent) and 25- to 34-year-olds (49 percent) said they were less likely to tune in given recent diversity and ethical controversies affiliated with the awards show and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out the Globes. Last year, these controversies led to a boycott of the ceremony. Meanwhile, a majority of those ages 35 to 54 (55 percent) and those ages 55 and over (59 percent) reported being just as likely to watch the presentation, in spite of the controversies.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker,1 43.9 percent of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president, » …