Following President Biden’s top security adviser’s warning that Russia could invade Ukraine “any day now,” a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll finds that Donald Trump supporters are now more than twice as likely as Joe Biden supporters to say “the conflict is none of America’s business” — a dramatic role reversal after decades of right-wing hawkishness toward Moscow.
The shift is likely due to the impact of Republican personalities like Trump and top Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, who have long justified and even complimented Russian President Vladimir Putin’s conduct.
The poll of 1,628 people in the United States found that 42 percent of Trump supporters now believe the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is none of America’s business, which is 6 percentage points higher than those who believe “it’s in America’s best interests to stop Russia and help Ukraine” (36 percent).
In contrast, 60 percent of Biden voters now believe that helping Ukraine is in America’s best interests, while only 20% disagree and claim that the crisis is unrelated to the United States.
Similarly, more Trump voters now believe the US should take “neither” side in the conflict (49 percent) than believe the US should support Ukraine (46 percent). More than two-thirds of Biden voters (67 percent) believe the US should support Ukraine, while only 29% want neutrality.
This divide may be a result of America’s regular partisan patterns to some extent. Biden, not Trump, has been attempting to defuse the situation by threatening “swift and punishing” economic sanctions and sending armaments and troops to the region as more than 130,000 Russian troops crowd on the Ukraine border. It is unsurprising that people who voted for the current president are more likely to support his policies than those who voted for his predecessor.
However, the new survey results imply that partisanship isn’t the only — or even the most important — factor at play. Conservatives are similarly split, indicating a deeper schism between traditional Republicans and their Trumpier counterparts, which could complicate America’s response to Russia.