After two years of political divisions and economic disruptions bolstered by an unending pandemic, many Americans say they are coming together around a common cause: support for Ukraine, a country under daily siege by Russian forces.
The rare moment of solidarity is driven, in part, by the perception of America as a steadfast global defender of freedom and democracy. Many Americans say they see a lopsided fight pitting a great power against a weaker neighbor. They see relentless images of dead families and collapsed cities. They see Ukraine’s president pleading for help.
In polls and interviews since the attack, Americans across the political spectrum said the nation had a duty to respond to President Vladimir V. Putin’s brazen invasion — even if that means feeling, at least in the short term, the pinch of high gas prices and inflation.
“I understand we want to stay out of it, but what’s happening is worse than anyone could imagine. We can do without gas when there are children there being killed,” said Danna Bone, a 65-year-old retiree in McMinnville, Ore., and a Republican. “It’s horrific what’s happening there, and we need to be doing our part. I would like to see them doing more. What that looks like, I really don’t know.”
array of painful economic sanctions on Russia and blocked its oil, gas and coal imports. The administration has already approved $1.2 billion in aid to Ukraine, and President Biden is expected to announce another $800 million in military assistance. Three weeks into the invasion, most Americans in both political parties support U.S. aid to Ukraine and overwhelmingly support economic sanctions, a new Pew Research Center survey found.
Already, the issue of America’s role in Ukraine is scrambling U.S. politics and reinvigorating the bond between the United States and its European allies.
About a third of Americans said the United States was providing the appropriate amount of support to Ukraine, but an even larger share, 42 percent, is in favor of the country doing even more, the Pew survey showed. The same poll found, however, that about two-thirds of Americans do not support military intervention.
In pockets across the country, how people saw America’s global might and obligations was often influenced by their individual circumstances and economic stability. They often drew a line, if a crooked one, between the war and the crises at home. Conversations about Russian strikes and shellshocked refugees fleeing Ukraine quickly gave way to discussion about the personal cost of gas and food, a sputtering economy and the enduring pain of the pandemic, the kind of grievances that might temper support for Ukraine over time.
moving in opposite political directions in recent years — Macomb to the right, Oakland to the left — liberals and conservatives are united in a belief that what is happening in Ukraine is wrong and that the United States could be doing more. But they offered divergent opinions on the causes of the war or whether Mr. Biden has been adept at handling the foreign policy crisis.