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Poll: Less than half of Republicans have confidence in Zelensky

A new Pew survey shows a persistent partisan gap over the war in Ukraine and the government in Kyiv.

Europe

Less than half of Republicans have confidence in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “do the right thing regarding world affairs,” according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center that highlights the growing partisan divide over the war in Ukraine.

Only 44 percent of Republican respondents said they had confidence in Zelensky, while 71 percent of Democrats expressed support for the war-time leader — a 27 percent split between parties. 

The divide held when respondents were asked if they held favorable views of Ukraine in general, with 52 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats saying they had a positive opinion of the country.

The survey joins a long list of recent polls showing that the Republican base is increasingly skeptical of U.S. policy toward Ukraine. Notably, the growing partisan divide appears to have had little effect on the policy preferences of GOP leaders in Congress. 

While House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had signaled before the midterm elections that he would not support a “blank check” for Ukraine, he rolled back those remarks last week and pledged that the U.S. will continue its military assistance “as long as I am Speaker.”

But GOP presidential candidates have been more willing to express concerns about U.S. support for Kyiv. Former President Donald Trump said in January that the war was a “tragic waste of human life” and claimed that, if he was still in the White House, he would be able to rapidly negotiate an end to the conflict.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — Trump’s leading challenger — has also expressed cautious skepticism about the value of backing Ukraine to the hilt and appeared to call for a ceasefire in April.

The poll results are based on a survey of more than 3,500 American adults conducted between March 20 and 26. Notably, the data was collected before a series of leaked documents appeared to reveal that the Biden administration had publicly overstated its confidence in Ukraine’s military.

The survey also found a partisan split on whether the United States should focus its energy at home or abroad. Seventy percent of GOP respondents said the U.S. should “concentrate on problems here at home,” while 60 percent of Democrats said it’s “best for the future of our country to be active in world affairs.”

Meanwhile, 49 percent of Republicans expressed a positive opinion of NATO, as opposed to 76 percent of Democrats.

President Volodymyr Zelensky on February 2, 2022. (President of Ukraine/Creative Commons)
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