More than half of Americans give Biden thumbs-down on Ukraine crisis

Barely one-third of Americans approve of the way President Biden is handling the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to a new poll released days after Vladimir Putin ordered “peacekeeping” forces to two breakaway regions of the former Soviet republic.

The Gallup survey found that only 36 percent of Americans back the president’s response to the “situation with Russia” while 55 percent disapproved.

Fewer than two-thirds of Democrats (64 percent) support Biden’s handling of the matter while 35 percent of independents approve of his efforts. Only 11 percent of Republicans offered the same support.

By contrast, the survey found that 86 percent of Republican respondents disapprove of Biden’s actions in response to tensions with Russia, while 53 percent of independents and 31 percent of Democrats felt similarly.

The poll was released one day after Biden announced what he called the “first tranche” of sanctions targeting Russian banks and the elite class, and two days after Putin recognized the self-declared pro-Russia Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) as independent states with claims on Ukraine-held territory — stoking fears of a large-scale invasion.

Russian tanks and other military hardware have been spotted on consecutive nights on the outskirts of the city of Donetsk, which is located inside DPR-held territory.

“Russia’s long-previewed invasion of Ukraine has begun and so has our response,” deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh told reporters during Tuesday’s White House press briefing.

“Let me be totally clear: No Russian financial institution is safe if the invasion proceeds,” Singh added. “We are ready to press a button to take action on the two largest Russian financial institutions, which collectively hold almost $750 billion in assets, or more than half of the total in the Russian banking system.”

Poll respondents gave Biden an overall approval rating of 41 percent, with 55 percent disapproving and 4 percent saying they had no opinion.

The survey also found that only 47 percent of Americans approve of the way Biden is handling the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 52 percent who disapprove.

On the economy, only 37 percent of respondents said they approve of Biden’s policies, with a massive 62 percent saying they disapprove.

Just 40 percent of respondents said they approve of the president’s handling of foreign affairs, while 56 percent disapprove — a complete reversal of the poll’s numbers from February 2021.

Gallup’s survey was conducted from Feb. 1 to 17 among 1,008 adults across the country. It carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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