Poll Shows Republicans Really Have No Idea What They Want Obama To Do With Russia

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April 2, 2014 9:06 a.m.
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A huge majority of Republicans believe Vladimir Putin is a stronger leader than President Obama. They overwhelmingly believe that Obama has not been tough enough in his handling of the situation with Russia and Ukraine.

And yet, they’re also unsure how much they’d like the United States to get involved in the tense standoff.

Those are some of the findings in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday that examined the public’s attitudes about Russia’s incursion into Crimea.

If it has seemed like there’s little Obama can do to please Republicans, the poll provides some confirmation of that.

On the question of U.S. involvement in the conflict, Republicans were almost evenly divided: 47 percent said it was more important for the country to “to take a firm stand against Russian actions,” while 44 percent said it was more important “not [to] get too involved in the situation.”

A majority of Americans overall — 54 percent — said it’s more important for the U.S. to not get too involved.

But there was a stronger agreement among Republicans two questions later, when Quinnipiac asked if Obama is being “too tough, not tough enough or about right in dealing with the situation involving Russia and Ukraine.” Sixty percent said he hasn’t been tough enough, compared with 21 percent who said his posture has been about right and five percent who said he’s been too tough.

Forty-five percent of Americans overall said Obama’s approach to the crisis has been about right, while 36 percent said he hasn’t been tough enough.

When it comes to an actual policy idea, most Republicans back a measure that Obama has already approved and will most likely expand.

Sixty-nine percent of GOP voters support economic sanctions against Russia, mirroring the percentage of Americans overall who support the action.

Quinnipiac’s poll also provided evidence that Republicans indeed have a case of Putin envy. According to the survey, 67 percent said the Russian autocrat is a stronger leader than Obama.

Americans were split on that question: 42 percent said Obama is the stronger leader, while 42 percent gave the edge to Putin.

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