Americans Are Running Out of Patience With Biden’s Approach to Putin’s War

As the war in Ukraine enters its eighth month, Americans are growing tired of the Biden administration’s approach to punishing Russia for the invasion, a new poll suggests.

According to the poll conducted by Data for Progress and commissioned by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, 57 percent of likely voters strongly or somewhat support the U.S. pursuing diplomatic negotiations, even if it means Ukraine would have to make compromises with Russia. Comparably, 32 percent of respondents were strongly or somewhat opposed to the idea.

The poll also found that 49 percent of Americans believe that Congress and the Biden administration need to do more diplomatically to help end the war. However, Washington has largely written off wading into negotiations and stuck to just providing military assistance to Ukraine.

“We found quite strong public support for the idea of pairing our assistance to Ukraine with a diplomatic or negotiation track,” Marcus Stanley, Quincy’s advocacy director, told Newsweek. However, Stanley noted, “In Washington, D.C., it would be considered almost a radical perspective to say that we should even be talking to Russia at all.”

“Washington is pretty much all-in on just the military strategy at this point,” he said. “We’re not talking to Russia and we don’t seem to be seeking a settlement. We seem to be purely focused on fighting it out on the battlefield.”

President Joe Biden delivers remarks in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 28 in Washington, D.C. Nearly half of Americans believe that Congress and the Biden administration need to do more diplomatically to help end the war in Ukraine.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced an additional $1.1 billion in security assistance for Ukraine, bringing the total U.S. commitment to more than $16.2 billion since the invasion began on February 24. Ukraine is now the largest recipient of U.S. foreign military aid in the last century.

Then on Friday, congressional lawmakers approved of another $12.3 billion aid package to Ukraine. Congress has already approved about $54 billion in two previous packages.

“Assisting Ukraine is not some feel-good, symbolic gesture—it’s literally an investment in our own national security and that of our allies,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor as he urged his colleagues to support the package.

But while lawmakers continue to underscore the importance of delivering foreign aid to Ukraine, their constituents appear to be growing weary of the approach. Compared to the 57 percent who support U.S. negotiations in ending the war, only 51 percent say they support the continuation of current levels of aid to Ukraine without diplomatic efforts, and 47 percent oppose it.

“Polls have been consistent in finding that people faulted Russia for what are some pretty outrageous and illegal actions, and that they support assistance to Ukraine,” Stanley said. “But what people have not been asking about is whether people favored seeking a diplomatic or negotiated solution to the war.”

He noted that while people try to pit diplomacy strategies and support for Ukraine as mutually exclusive approaches, he doesn’t believe that to be the case. He said that the poll, which has a margin of error of 3 points, was not asking people to choose between one or the other, but questioning if there was broad support for combining the current support for Ukraine’s sovereignty with peace talks.

The Quincy Institute advised politicians that it would be wise for them to consider “the American people’s appetite” for a diplomatic track at this time, especially as Americans have begun to feel the economic strain of the war.

The survey found that more than six in 10 Americans say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has impacted them financially. Nearly 60 percent of likely voters said they would oppose additional aid to Ukraine if the war results in higher gas and consumer prices in the U.S.

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