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Ukraine crisis also a crisis for Obama in public approval

By ,
March 26, 2014

President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama.
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Foreign policy used to stand out as a not-so-bleak spot in the public’s waning assessment of Barack Obama. Not anymore. He’s getting low marks for handling Russia’s swoop into Ukraine, and more Americans than ever disapprove of the way Obama is doing his job, according to a new AP-GfK poll.

Despite the poor performance reviews, Obama’s primary tactic so far — imposing economic sanctions on key Russians — has strong backing.

Close to 9 out of 10 Americans support sanctions as a response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, the poll indicates. About half of that group says the U.S. sanctions so far are about right, while the other half wants to see them strengthened, the Associated Press-GfK poll found.

Most Democrats say the sanctions are OK, while a majority of Republicans finds them too weak.

“We’re supposed to be a country that helps smaller countries in need,” said Christopher Ashby, 29, a Republican in Albemarle, N.C., who wants a more powerful response. “Ukraine at this time is definitely in need.”

Ashby, a stay-at-home dad caring for three young daughters, said, “When I look at Obama, I see my 5-year-old daughter looking at something that just happened and saying ‘What do I do?'”

Overall disapproval of the job Obama is doing ticked up to 59 percent — a record high for his presidency — in the poll released Wednesday. His 41 percent approval rating is a sobering number for fellow Democrats running in this fall’s House and Senate elections.

Americans are now divided over which party they would rather see in control of Congress. Democrats held a slight edge over Republicans in the January AP-GfK poll.

Obama gets lowest marks for his handling of the federal budget, immigration and the economy. Support for Obama’s education policies, which had been a strong point, dipped into negative territory this month, too.

Republicans have long criticized the president as too weak in asserting American power abroad. Yet until now, foreign policy hasn’t been a drag on Obama’s second term: Americans were about as likely to endorse his actions as to disapprove.

Now he’s hit a new low on international relations — just 40 percent approval.

Majorities say they dislike Obama’s handling of the Ukraine situation (57 percent) and his interactions with Russia (54 percent).

Almost half of those polled say they support imposing tougher sanctions if Russia pushes into new regions or other countries; only 14 percent are opposed. That backs up threats from Obama and Western allies to target Russia’s economy with damaging sanctions if President Vladimir Putin goes further.

About a third of those surveyed said they oppose giving monetary aid to nations targeted by Russia. Only about 20 percent approve of financial support, while the biggest share is neutral. This week Congress is considering $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine sought by Obama.

The idea of lending any type of military support to Ukraine is unpopular, the poll says. Obama has said there are no plans to use military force to dislodge Russia from the Crimean Peninsula.

Richard Johnson, a politically independent retiree in Redmond, Wash., said the United States shouldn’t have gotten involved at all, especially since many Crimean residents favor Russia.

“They’re protesting in both directions, right?” Johnson said. “So I just feel like we’ve got enough problems here at home, why are we looking for more trouble?”

Johnson, pausing from wiring work on his do-it-yourself kitchen remodel, said he still supports Obama nevertheless.

“He’s trying to do what he believes is best,” said Johnson, 62.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted March 20-24, 2014 using KnowledgePanel, GfK’s probability-based online panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. It involved online interviews with 1,012 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents.

Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods and were later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn’t otherwise have access to the Internet were provided with the ability to access the Internet at no cost to them.

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AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.

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Follow Connie Cass on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ConnieCass

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Online:

AP-GfK Poll: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com

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Copyright  © 2014 Capitol Hill Blue

Copyright  © 2014 The Associated Press  All Rights Reserved

3 Responses to Ukraine crisis also a crisis for Obama in public approval

  1. woody188

    March 27, 2014 at 6:35 am

    The US State Department is responsible for destabilizing Ukraine. Victoria Nuland admitted to spending $5 billion US dollars over the last few years towards this goal. Russia didn’t invade Crimea, they were already stationed there under a 50 year lease agreement. The US corporate media has done it’s citizens a grave injustice by lying about the events in Ukraine. They are fomenting war the same as WWI, the same as the Spanish-American War, the same as Vietnam, the same as Iraq. Don’t you believe them!

  2. sherry morrison

    March 27, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Ah, for the days of George Bush, when we didn’t bother with diplomacy or economic sanctions. Nope, he and his war mongering friends would have made up a whopping lie about national security and off to war we would have gone. Haliburtion, Blackwater (Xe), KBR, et al would have no contract bids in hand, getting rich. O yeah. And they would have financed the war “off the books”
    I can see why Obama’s approval ratings have ticked up. Some of us are just so grateful we don’t have a “war first” mentality in the white house.

  3. woody188

    March 28, 2014 at 9:33 am

    I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America…constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/06/executive-order-blocking-property-certain-persons-contributing-situation
    So um yeah, no difference. Then there is Libya, Syria, Iran and so forth. Barry’s last name might as well be Bush. I can’t see any difference between the two imperial globalist corporatist national parties.