Biden sees minimal poll bounce from Ukraine as Zelensky’s US approval soars

President sees gap between Americans’ approval of his administration’s actions and their view of his personal performance

Andrew Naughtie
Monday 14 March 2022 10:15 GMT
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While Joe Biden is winning some praise for his administration’s aggressive response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, it seems there has been little effect on his dismal standing among the electorate.

According to new polling from YouGov, Americans are only slightly warming up to Mr Biden’s handling of the crisis, with 44 per cent strongly or somewhat approving of it. That represents a rise of only two points week-on-week despite a number of dramatic measures including a ban on the importation of Russian oil.

He is also only slowly closing the gap when it comes to his perceived strength. The poll shows that 56 per cent of Americans view him as a weak leader – down from a high in early January, but only on a fairly slow trajectory.

Meanwhile, the data show that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is held in higher esteem than ever among Americans, 60 per cent of whom view him somewhat or very favourably. That represents a doubling in his support since mid-February.

While he came into office with a fairly healthy approval rating, Mr Biden’s numbers went into steep decline during the US’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and have yet to recover.

Alongside the YouGov polling, other data show that Americans give very different responses on Mr Biden’s handling of the crisis depending on the phrasing of the question – a familiar problem for pollsters to grapple with.

What does remain true for Mr Biden is that many of his actual policies on the conflict are in fact proving popular even if he isn’t. Among these is the oil ban, which even 72 per cent of Trump voters said they would support.

And despite what is being said by certain commentators on the pro-Trump right, American public opinion is tilted heavily against Vladimir Putin. The YouGov data shows that 68 per cent now regard him as a very serious threat, 69 per cent acree that he is deliberately striking civilian areas, and 70 per cent think he is guilty of war crimes.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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