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7-In-10 Americans View Russia As An Enemy, Survey Finds


Seven-in-ten surveyed Americans view Russia as an enemy of the United States, according to a Pew Research survey conducted about a month after Russia invaded Ukraine—a notable jump compared to Americans’ opinions on Russia two months ago, with Republican-leaning Americans aligning more with Democrat-leaning Americans on the issue than in recent years.

Key Facts

The percentage of American adults who view Russia as an enemy jumped 29 percentage points compared to a survey taken in January, before the invasion of Ukraine, when 41% felt that way.

Democrats and Republicans largely agree, with 72% of surveyed Democrats believing Russia an enemy compared to 69% of surveyed Republicans.

This alignment wasn’t always the case, as just 48% of surveyed Republicans or Americans who lean Republican viewed Russia’s influence and power as a major threat to the U.S. when asked in 2020, compared to 68% of surveyed Democrats or Americans who lean Democrat.

Americans’ opinions of NATO, which has been instrumental as world powers attempt to respond to the conflict, have also increased since Russia’s invasion, with 67% of surveyed Americans believing the U.S. benefits from being a NATO member compared to 61% in 2021.

Some 35% of surveyed Americans said they favor the U.S. taking military action in Ukraine even if it risks a potential nuclear conflict with Russia, a Pew poll conducted earlier in March found.

Key Background

Between 4 and 7% of surveyed Americans viewed Russia as the greatest threat to the U.S. in 2001, when Gallup first began surveying people on the issue. Democrats and Republicans were essentially aligned on Russia’s threat level for the next 15 years, but a major shift occurred in 2016, coinciding with the U.S. presidential election, in which Russia made a concerted effort to try and help Donald Trump win. From that point on, the percentage of Democrats who viewed Russia as the U.S.’s greatest threat jumped, up 30 percentage points to 46% by 2019, while the Republican view dipped before leveling off at 14% that year.

Big Number

6%. That’s the percentage of surveyed Americans who expressed confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin when asked if he was “a leader to do the right thing regarding world affairs,” according to a Pew poll released last week.

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