WASHINGTON – The Washington establishment — aka “the blob” – is out of step with the American people in considering the role U.S. diplomacy could play in ending the Ukraine war, according to a new poll released today.
While diplomacy has largely been written off within Washington’s policy-making and political circles as being notional and inapplicable to the Russia-Ukraine war, a new poll conducted by Data for Progress and commissioned by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, shows that 57 percent of American likely voters support the U.S. pursuing negotiations as soon as possible to end the war in Ukraine, even if it means Ukraine making some compromises with Russia. Interestingly, the biggest spread on this question was not between Republican and Democratic levels of support, but between those under 45 (62-26 percent) and those over 45 (55-35 percent).
From September 16 to 19, 2022 — in the week following Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive at Kharkiv– Data for Progress conducted a survey of 1,215 likely voters nationally using web panel respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points.
Ukraine is now the largest recipient of U.S. foreign military assistance in the last century—and U.S. involvement in the war effort is only increasing, as Washington provides Kyiv with more sophisticated weapons and real-time intelligence to help counter the illegal Russian invasion. Washington’s diplomatic efforts, however, pale in comparison to its military investments— U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have spoken only once since Russia’s invasion in February.
Americans take issue with Washington’s lackluster diplomatic efforts. A majority believe that the U.S. has a leading role to play in negotiating an end to the war (59 percent) and a plurality believe that the Biden administration and Congress need to do more diplomatically to help end the war (49-37 percent).
As lawmakers are set to approve a new $12B aid package to Ukraine later this week, only 41 percent of Americans support the continuation of current levels of aid to Ukraine without a corresponding diplomatic strategy, whereas 47 percent oppose it.
“As Washington seamlessly revs up for another long war, politicians would be wise to take into account the American peoples’ appetite for U.S. diplomatic efforts and their dread over the potential costs and impacts a drawn-out conflict may have on Ukrainians, Americans, and the world,” says Lora Lumpe, CEO of the Quincy Institute.
While Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive has caused some in Washington to predict Russia’s imminent downfall, Americans have a more sobering assessment—57 percent believe that Russia’s war in Ukraine will end in a negotiated peace rather than in total military victory for either side.
Americans are also feeling the economic strain of the war—with 61 percent saying it had impacted them financially, and 58 percent reporting that they would oppose the U.S. providing aid to Ukraine at current levels if the war resulted in higher gas prices and a higher cost of goods in the U.S.